Halloween    Halloweens History, Superstitions and Omens    Magick 7




History Of Halloween

Halloween originated in Pagan Ireland as the festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), and becoming All Hallow’s Eve in Christian times. Over two thousand years ago, the Celtic people who lived in France and the British Isles observed a calendar that began and ended with their new Year’s Eve festival every October 31/November 1. The festival was called Samhain , which means “summers end”. This marks the “death” of the old year and the “birth” of the next. It was also regarded as the day of the dead, a night devoted to the practices of magic and divination, a time when fairy folk and gods were especially active, and a festival to celebrate the harvest. The Ancient Celts believed an invisible veil existed that separated the worlds of the living and the dead. At sundown on the last day of the year, this veil grew to its thinnest point, allowing the living and the dead to make contact with each other.

The lord of the Dead is a deity known during the Samhain. He gathers souls throughout the previous year of men women and children who died and been confined in the bodies of animals while awaiting to enter the underworld. With their sins expiated, they would be set free to begin their journey to the Celtic other world of Tir-nan’Og, whose open gates awaited them.

During Samhain , homesick spirits were free to roam the mortal world and return to their homes to seek the company of their loved ones, and warmth of the hearth fires. Families prepared offerings of fruits and vegetables. Hilltop bonfires were built which illuminated the night sky with a eerie orange glow, which was a guiding light for the dead souls, and kept away any evil spirits, which intended to harm the living.

In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saint’s Day to honor God and the early Christians who died for their religious beliefs. This festival of the Catholic Church was originally on may 13, but in the year 900, Gregory III changed the date to November 1 in an effort to supplant the old Samhain festival of the dead. All Saints’ Day was now called All Hallows’ Day and Hallowmas (Hallow means “holy”), and the evening before it (October 31) was therefore known as All Hallows’ Eve. Eventually it evolved into the word Hallowe’en, later it was spelled Halloween.

Halloween was brought to the United States by the Irish Immigrants in the Nineteenth century which followed the potato famine of the 1840s.The Pagan roots of Halloween caused problems in many religious groups at the time. However Halloween’s popularity with the youth, outweighed the oppositions attempts to ban the celebration in the United States.

Old Gaelic traditions involved carving the jack-o’-lantern, performing love divinations, and guising (which eventually evolved into the trick-or-treat custom as we know today).They also brought with them old Halloween folklore, myths, practices and legends.