Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. 🎃 I love dressing up and mostly: dressing the dogs up. Yep, I’m guilty as charged! 🙈 We all loved to go trick or treating as kids, but do you know where Halloween originated?
Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “SAH-win”) is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.” Celebrants believe that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world break down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and denizens of the Otherworld. 👻
At this time of year the Celtic people would build a large bonfire in the hope that it would please the gods and help the regenerative agricultural process. This foundation in an agricultural based festival is still visible today where in many agricultural based communities “the intervention of masks may help ensure that the crops grow well”. For the Celts this time of year held great symbolic significance and it was said that many Mythic kings and heroes died on Samhain.
Samhain is also known as witches’ new year. 🔥
8 ways to celebrate Samhain
- Have a feast of harvest goodies. Invite family, friends and neighbours – get them to bring a dish to share. Spend time with your community. 🥧
- Make a memory table honouring loved ones who have passed away. Decorate it with pretty nature objects, coloured cut outs, photos, drawings, anything you like. On Samhain, light a candle and offer gratitude and love. 🕯
- Spread your festivities out over three days in the traditional Celtic way. Dances, rituals and feasts are all ways of connecting with the special energy at this time of year. 🎉
- Write down the habits, activities, feelings etc. that you want to let go of and burn your list in the Samhain fire 🔥, stating your intentions. Then write a list of ideas and dreams for the coming year – you can either share them as a family or keep them safe until Spring, making sure you give them tender attention over the Winter months.
- Have a harvest craft day. Gather brightly coloured leaves to make a picture or leaf prints, string acorns on a necklace, make fairy beds in nutshells, carve a pumpkin… 🎃
- Get outside in the brisk Autumn air and have a run around to get the blood pumping. Often we tend to begin to slow down and get more sedentary at this time of year. Enjoy the outdoors to keep energy levels high and your body and mind healthy.
- Have a bonfire under the stars, toasting marshmallows and sharing stories! Make sure you rake through anything you’re going to burn carefully to make sure there are no hibernating animals! 🦔
- Give thanks to the beautiful Autumnal world around you in whatever way feels right for your family. Take time to look around and see the world on the cusp of magical change. 🍁
Trick or Treat!
October 31st became known as All Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween, and contained much of the traditional pagan practices before being adopted in 19th-century America through Irish immigrants bringing their traditions across the ocean. Halloween pranks also have a tradition in Samhain, though in the ancient celebration, tricks were typically blamed on fairies! 🧚🏼♂️ Since it is believed that ghosts walk the earth on the night of Samhain, people will wear costumes in an attempt to ward off spirits.
What do you love to dress up as on Halloween? 🦇