Lifestyle, Seasonal

The Real Story of Halloween

We are all familiar with the concept. It is the only night of the year we let our kids eat candy from strangers and even encourage them to go out and ask people for it. We carve faces into giant vegetables and put a naked flame into its hallowed out carcass. We put up fake cobwebs and wear pointy hats. We try our best to terrify ourselves and each other with ghouls and scary movies. Halloween. It sure is fun. (?)

I have never been one to celebrate All Hallows Eve to the extent of some people, but I did always enjoy carving a pumpkin with my dad when I was growing up and watching a horror film. This year I got thinking about what Halloween actually is and decided to share what I found, like the nerd that I am, because I found it quite interesting.

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So Halloween essentially has roots in both Christianity and the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’. The Celts celebrated their New Year on the 1st of November and believed that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead became thinner on effectively New Years Eve. Due to this, on the 31st October they celebrated ‘Samhain’.

Taken from the Gaelic meaning ‘summer end’, this festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter months and was approximately half way between the autumnal equinox and the shortest day of the year.

To celebrate ‘Samhain’ people would light fires and wear elaborate costumes to fend off the spirits that may try to say hello. Whilst ‘Samhain’ is rooted in pagan traditions, Halloween itself is more closely linked to Christianity. This is because over in the Vatican in seven hundred and something AD, the Pope picked the 1st of November as the best time to honour all saints, thus becoming known as ‘All Saints Day’, even today.

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Over the many years since the 8th century, All Saints Day took inspiration from the ‘Samhain’ traditions in how it was celebrated including dressing up in scary attire and lighting big fires.

Nowadays, Halloween often involves eating sweets, carving pumpkins and going trick-or-treating. Lots of this is much to do with the popularisation of the festivities in the United States. In the 19th century, parents were actually encouraged to make Halloween less scary for their kids and because of this the spooky holiday lost most of its religious and superstitious connotations by the early 1900’s.

Like with most things American, the now somewhat less culturally traditional holiday spread across the world in all its brash, boldness. Today, it is one of the most anticipated festivals of the year across the globe and undoubtedly one of the most lucrative.

Will you be celebrating Halloween and All Saints Day this year? How do you like to celebrate? Let me know in the comments below.

23 thoughts on “The Real Story of Halloween”

  1. Great post…I think we call it Samhuin but maybe that is just me watching too much outlander! Love Halloween and having a party with my neighbours this weekend to celebrate πŸ™‚

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    1. That is so great – I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating! I find reading about these sorts of festivities so interesting because it isn’t something we really learn about in school, at least not as much as the other holiday and when it comes to this, more focus is but on Bonfire Night and the reasons for it, here in the UK.

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  2. I could quite happily leave all the Halloween stuff out, but I have 3 daughters who go absolutely nuts for it, so I indulge them in it.
    We carve pumpkins and make soup and pumpkin cake, then they dress up and we go out trick or treating for an hour. We live near a lot of their school friends, so it’s mostly just walking around doing a circuit of friends houses, swapping sweets and them getting all giggly and hyper over each other’s outfits.
    I was brought up in an Italian-Catholic family, and celebrating Halloween wasn’t encouraged. For us it was all about All Saint’s Day and laying the table for our dearly departed in the evening. I hated it because it was so morbid. Really interesting to learn about the history of it all though, thanks!

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    1. I’m glad you liked my post. Thank you for sharing your experience ❀️ On one side it’s a shame it’s all not as scary now and traditional, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t be as commercial and popular if it was. It needs to be sparkly and shiny to make money which is exactly what it is πŸ‘»πŸŽƒ i hope you have an awesome Halloween x

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  3. I like Halloween, a mix of pagan and Christian traditions, when you were little, we carved pumpkins with friendly smiley faces to light the way for friendly spirits! Some years it snowed shortly after Halloween, preserving the pumpkin for weeks until it thawed. Remember?

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    1. I remember that! And we had the pumpkin until New Year’s 🀣 … I don’t have any pumpkin this year ☹️ I never got around to buying one, but I am using my pumpkin lights for the first time so that’s a plus! X

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    1. Same! At least not the way many people do. I have generally always done a pumpkin but I don’t dress up for it or eat lots of sweet stuff 🀣 I have always preferred bonfire night here in the UK becuase i like the fireworks πŸŽƒ Have a good one πŸ‘» x

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  4. We have a weeny pumpkin and it will look good tonight lit to ward off the spirits……happy Halloween sweetcheeks πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

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    1. Haha I saw your pumpkin on Instagram and it looks fab! I only have my little lights this year as I didn’t get around to buying one. I wanted to pick one up at the start of October by *somebody* told me it was much too early – so now I am pumpkin-less.

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  5. I’m a witch so I actually celebrate Samhain (pronounced saah-wen or saah-ven) – a lot of people still do! Even though Samhain is an important and spiritual night of the year, I think a lot of witches incorporate modern Halloween motifs because they play into the themes of the dead, ghosts, the darker aspects of humanity we reckon with during the cold half of the year, letting go of old and dead things, etc.

    I engage in a ancestor honoring, divination, and spirit communication on Halloween night, but I won’t say no to a bucket of candy and some horror films either!

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    1. There’s definitely a fun side to the ghoulish celebrations of modern day Halloween! I love me some horror films as well, but I can’t stomach candy or chocolate at all! Thank you for sharing and for reading my post ❀️

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  6. I genuinely didn’t know much about Halloween. My Mum hated it so we never celebrated it, plus it was my parents wedding anniversary.

    Today I am celebrating by having a nice meal with my man, surrounded by beautiful pumpkins and I will be raising a glass to my Mum.

    Happy halloween x x

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    1. That sounds like a lovely way to spend the evening. I didn’t get to do a pumpkin this year but my dad did one for me and showed me a picture 😁. I spent Halloween night at a talk show so not really ghoulish but i hope to watch movie tonight with some good food! I’m glad you liked my post πŸŽƒ

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