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All Hallows Eve

Updated on October 7, 2011

The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe'en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before All Hallows' Day. In Ireland the name is All Hallows' Eve (usually shortened to Hallow Eve and pronounced Hallaeve).

A (very) Brief History

Samhain, (All Hallows Eve, Halloween) originated with the Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts this Festival marked the end of summer - the coming of winter. the two halves of the year - the dark and the light. Summer runs from Beltane to Samhain and winter from Samhain to Beltane. Samhain is one of the Greater Sabbats observed by pagans and Wiccans.

For Celts Samhain is a time when the bridge that separates the world of the living and the world of the dead becomes firmer, allowing spirits and ghosts and ghouls to cross over. These spirits or departed souls are honored and asked to grant luck and prosperity. Regardless what you call it today it is a festival dedicated to the dead

As the souls of the dead walk the land so do the evil spirits, people wear masks and light bonfires to scare them away.

ancient and astronomical

Halloween's origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere)

Samhain marks the start of the New Year, the dark time...

Did you know ?

in Ireland people went door-to-door collecting food and sticks or turf for a feast and bonfire. Those who gave got good luck; those who did not got bad luck.

lanterns were originally made from turnip

purdy (potato) pudding is only made in Ireland once a year at Samhain

Statue from Boa Island (Dreenan), County Fermanagh, Ireland

The Female Side
The Female Side
The Male Side
The Male Side
Traditionally Drax has a few friends over for tea on Samhain...
Traditionally Drax has a few friends over for tea on Samhain...

In Caldragh graveyard on the Boa Island is a double-sided figure of two beings in typical 'Celtic' squatting mode, carved back-to-back, the East side being male with a pointed penis beneath the stylised crossed arms (all carved in high relief), and the West side being female, with a protruding tongue. There is incised zig-zag decoration between the two heads, which may represent hair, and both figures have a band or belt at the base of the torsos.

Perhaps this statue in Co Fermanagh represents that balance between male and female, where each is equal. This is much in evidence in the old world;- the dark - the light Samhain - Beltane..

Man and woman joined, a bridge to the old - to the new, to the dead - to the living, to the past - to the future.

This looking back and forward explains the reverence for the dead at this turn of the year and the focus on offerance to the gods for the future.

There is a tradition still in ireland that a place is set at the table for anyone who died during the year. The dead can return, if they so desire.

As the dead can enter this world the barrier to future 'worlds' is weakest at this time. All around the island of All Hallows Eve the barriers fall. This day was often selected for a scrying or glimpse of the future.

I'm the third from the left or the second from the left if you are standing behind us, you could even say I was in the middle if you just looked at us from the side.... if you're looking at us from satellite and your resolution is up to it I'm the one with the glove.


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    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 8 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Hormony, thanks for the comment, when you come to Ireland come to the West, Galway, Connemara, Donegal - there are still parts of the old Ireland left there, the pace is slower, peole have more time to talk and relax.



    • profile image

      Hormony 8 years ago

      I cant waite to plan a trip to visit irland.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 10 years ago from France

      Sounds good. Next time we are in Scotland to visit the inlaws I will take that special trip to see Ireland. Some of the most lovely people I met in the UK. were from there!

    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 10 years ago from NYC....

      That's great Princessa, definitely this statue is well worth a visit. The best time to go is the end of April or the beginning of May, IMHO, there is also a strong case for going to the West to see what remains of the old Ireland, Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo... all along the extreme western coast.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 10 years ago from France

      Hi, I loved the Statue and the story and the significance attached to it. If I ever go to Ireland (it is in my plans!) I will try to make a detour to see it!

    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 11 years ago from NYC....

      very good Jimmy .BG, actually no - they just belong to a local 'club'... that meets down the road..

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland


    • profile image

      Iðunn 11 years ago


    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 11 years ago from NYC....

      thanks Iðunn - yeah the statue has something special.. like a presence almost...

    • profile image

      Iðunn 11 years ago

      wonderful hub! it's fascinating and I love the statue.

    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 11 years ago from NYC....

      and so on the stroke of 12 comes Samhain - All Hallows Eve.. beware the evil dead..

    • Drax profile image

      des donnelly 11 years ago from NYC....

      and so on the sroke of 12 comes Samhain - All Hallows Eve..


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