Repost from a previous year.
Back before Halloween became a sugar induced candy grab populated by polyester wearing little goblins, it was known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). Since there are soooo many misconceptions about Halloween (Satan, Devil worshiping, etc), I thought I'd share some information with all my readers.
Samhain, means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter part of the year commences on this day. The Celts divided the year into four quarters: Samhain (winter), Imbolc (spring), Beltane (summer), and Lughnasadh (autumn). The Celtic year began in November, with Samhain. The Celts were influenced principally by the lunar and stellar cycles which governed the agricultural year - beginning and ending in autumn when the crops have been harvested and the soil is prepared for the winter.
It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane (May 1).
Originally the "Feast of the Dead" was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the "wandering dead". Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. This has evolved into today's practice of carving Jack O'Lanterns. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.
When the Romans made contact with the Celts, they added their feast of the dead to Samhain. The Christians subverted the recognition of Samhain to honor the saints, as All Saint's Day on November 1st and named October 31 as All Hallow's Eve. This latter became a secular holiday by the name of Hallowe'en. Although using different nomenclatures, all of these festivals and feasts are celebrating the accessibility, veneration, awe, and respect of the dead, not Satan. And now you know.
Our community had trick or treating this past Saturday (why can't they just let kids get sugared up on a school night?). Here are some photos:
Don't think I'm not wearing a costume. I'm a Muggle!
The best Harry Potter ever:
James Bond is a Muggle too!
James Bond couldn't resist trying to take a bite:
I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!