Halloween and Superstition

Halloween party in Blarney,Ireland in 1832
Halloween party in Blarney,Ireland in 1832
Traditional Irish jack-o-lantern
Traditional Irish jack-o-lantern

Ancient Celtic Festival

October 31st brings about the celebration of Halloween, a holiday that is known for it's costumes and sweet treats. As it is with many things that we celebrate the holiday goes deeper than that. The name Halloween gets it origin from All Hallows Eve, the longer version of the name. The holiday can be traced back 2000 years to an ancient Celtic festival named "samhain." Located in the area that is now known as Ireland, N. France and the United Kingdom is the area that they resided. Samhain Festival marked the end of the harvest and the changing of the seasons.The Celts believed that the night of October 31st the boundary between the living and the dead was dissolved. The dead were believed to walk amongst the living causing all manner of ailments and destroying crops. The festival involved barn-fires in which bones, animals and crops were thrown into the fire to the Celtic deities.. Costumes and masks were worn by the Celts in their attempt to copy the evil spirits. Some of their costumes consisted of animal heads and skins. In Scotland they would impersonate the dead with masks, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

Superstitions:

  1. Setting places at the table for the friendly spirit of a deceased loved one.
  2. Leaving sweet treats on the doorsteps and along the side of the road.
  3. Lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.
  4. Avoid crossing the path of a black cat, in the Middle Ages it was believed that witches escaped detection by turning themselves into cats.
  5. Celts would place a skeletons on their window sill to represent the dead.
  6. Lanterns were first carved from turnips or rutabagas, it was believed that the head was the most powerful / spiritual part of the body and this vegetable head could be used to frighten off the embodiment of superstition.
  7. At this time in history All Saints Day and Halloween were celebrated on the same day.
  8. The pumpkin was not associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

Today this holiday is more about our kids.A time when they can become their favorite super hero or maybe just a mermaid. They get to go from door to door and do the one thing that we tell them not to do, go and ask strangers for candy. We adults as well have the opportunity to hang out with our friends and act like kids as we dress up in something that we normally wouldn't wear.We get to act silly and get drunk and we can blame it on the celebrating of Halloween. HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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