…And this is how each year countries around the world celebrate an ancient Celtic ritual

And yes! You too 😉 most likely. You probably think that the Halloween season is American… well actually no. It’s of Celtic origin (Europe) and derives from an ancient pagan celebration called Samhain. So how did we end up disguising ourselves and collecting sweets? 🙋 Good question!

Winter is coming…

The 1st November was a very important date for the Celts. Firstly it represented the New Year. Summer harvest drew to a close announcing the arrival of cold, dark winter nights. And also the need to implore onto the powers from beyond for protection. A concept that I can understand because it’s around this time that we change the times on our clocks and at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s already nighttime. 😳

Huge sacred bonfires would be lit during the celebrations to perform sacrifices. People will carry the fire from these bonfires to bring back the light and protection into their homes. 

The walking dead…

This period was also considered to be special because the boundary between the living and the dead was believed to be at its weakest making it possible for the souls of the dead to walk amongst us 👻. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, in order to fool the spirits in the hope that their souls would not be kidnapped and taken away. They would also leave food outside in order to satisfy the hungry spirits and protect their homes. 

Then came Halloween…

As Christianity continued its spread, the church attempted to convert the pagan Samhain into a Christian celebration. All in vain. In the 9th century Pope Gregory declared the following holidays: All Saints’ Day on November 1 to be followed on November 2 by All Souls’ Day.  Two distinct celebrations. On All Saints’ Day, also called All-hallows, there’s a call to live as saints, to remind us how we’re supposed to live. On All Souls’ Day, we’re talking about all souls and asking God’s mercy for them. But neither of these newly created holidays was able to eradicate the pagan celebrations that continued to take place on October 31 which became to be known as All Hallows Eve. The immigration of the Europeans fleeing persecution, will contribute to the spread, adaptation and merging of these rituals with other civilizations and cultures. And so Halloween was born.

It’s all about coming together to have fun!

Proving once again that the merging and mixing of different cultures will give rise to a wonderful, fun celebration that is meant to bring people together. And if we all wear masks, maybe it’s the time when we are closest to being our true selves: because what’s behind the mask no longer matters!

Happy Halloween! 🍭🍬🎃

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