ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Halloween-the Celebration of Death

Updated on November 2, 2016

Images of Samhain

The Bonfires of Samhain was a important part of all the ancient Celtic rituals.
The Bonfires of Samhain was a important part of all the ancient Celtic rituals. | Source
When the Romans came into power they burned down all of Druids sacred groves though out Britian
When the Romans came into power they burned down all of Druids sacred groves though out Britian
 We can not forget the Saints!
We can not forget the Saints!

Are you ready to take a little trip?

This is not only to several locations around the world and though time, but also a trip into other people’s minds and beliefs. This trip will not cost you one soldiery dime, or take any preparation whatsoever. All you have to do is read on.

Our first stop is Ireland let’s say about…two thousand years ago. Give or take a hundred years. It is the thirty first of October and we are winding through an oak grove on a very narrow and warn path. On our way, we have passed several small bonfires that people are dancing around on their way towards the middle of the grove. It is late at night; let us say about 10:30 PM. Up ahead we can make out a very bright light, partially hidden by the trees. It is a large bonfire, at least ten feet long and maybe, ten feet wide. It was also quite possible that there was towering object shaped like a man or some other kind of animal. This was known as "The Wicker Man" and was often used to cage animals and sometimes human sacrifices.

The bonfire or wicker man is inside an even larger clearing, right in the middle of a circle of stones. By each stone is a wooden poll topped with a special lantern. These lanterns are what were originally called samhng and are made from turnips and have horrific faces. These are the very earliest form of Jack –o’ Lanterns. They are meant to ward off evil spirits that are believed to roam freely on this most scared night. For this is Samhain, the night that the dead walk the earth!

Several activities will be performed on this night, since this is the last and greatest harvest festival. Roughly translated from the Old Irish or Gaelic, the word Samhain means “summer's end” and the word Mi na Samhna was Gaelic word for November. It will be the night of feasting and prophecy, with young women using scaring bowls to get glimpse of their future husbands alongside their own reflections.

So what was the mind set on these ancient pagans as they prepared to greet the winter and a new year? I am certain there was a touch of fear, since they had a strong belief that this night the veil that separated our world from the underworld (or spirit world) was at its thinnest. It was also a time of thankfulness for the harvest, and a time to remember those who passed on.

Then came the Romans

The Romans had their own festivals to honor the dead. This was Parentalia that began on February 13 and continued until February 22. This was not as joyful as Samhain was, for it was considered a time of mourning, even though there was feasting at the grave sites of the deceased relatives (the sites were known as manes). Faralia was the last night of the festival and the most sacred event. During this time, the entire temple was closed and no wedding or any other normal activities were permitted.

Then in the 7Th century Pope Boniface IV, started a celebration that was clearly meant to replace the pagan celebration, Samhain. This was All Saints Day, when all the Saints and Martyrs were remembered. Much later, the Catholic Church created All Souls day on November 2ed. Both All Saints day and All Souls Day was combined and called Hallow-mass which became known as Halloween.

Celabrating death, Mexican style

Our final destination is Mexico and the Festival that refused to die!

Just like Samhain, the Aztecs had a ritual that "laughed in the face of death." It involved the Goddess Mictecihuatl who was known as "the Lady of the Dead." It was originally in the month of August, however when the Spaniards took power they found they could not stop the natives from practicing this ancient ritual, so they changed it to November 2ed and combined it with All Saint day and All Souls Day. On this day there is much celebration and people decorated the graves of their relatives with brightly colored flowers and sugared skulls. This is known as "The Day of the Dead" or Dia de Los Muertos.

Personally, I have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to celebrating death. For being a Christian, I like to stay focus on the promise of eternal life. Even so, honoring and remembering your love ones is a very positive act, I just do not think that dancing around a bonfire or eating sugar skulls is the best way for me to do it.

The Day of the Dead- a history lesson

Smile for the Camera!

Just a small exsample of the colorful decorations for The Day of The Dead!
Just a small exsample of the colorful decorations for The Day of The Dead!

Now it is your turn, do you think one of these festivals is something you would take part in?

Our these celabrations appropriate ways to honer the dead?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)