A Writer's Objectives

Continuing with my theme of the week, I decided that today I would do a bit of a history lesson. I’ll do it in bullet form so it is more fun :-p Following is a list of interesting facts about the history and origin of Samhain/Halloween.

 

  • Halloween is actually the modern world’s way to celebrate Samhain.
  • Samhain is actually pronounced ‘sow-en’ ‘sow-an’ or ‘sow-in’ and derives from the Gaelic word Samhuin which could mean either ‘the end of summer’ or ‘the beginning of summer’ depending on who you ask.
  • Christianity was the culprit for Samhain becoming All Hallow’s Eve and then Halloween. They created a day, All Saint’s Day (November 1st) which was called Allhallowmas. The night before became All Hallow’s Eve, for obvious reasons, and over time the name has become Halloween. Traditions celebrated on Halloween are a combination of ancient Pagan rituals and beliefs as well as early Christian beliefs and practices.
  • Samhain is actually the start of the Celtic New Year. Often times, ancient Pagan’s would light several giant bonfires and walk between them to cleanse themselves for the New Year.
  • On Samhain (the night of October 31st and day of November 1st) Pagans and Wiccans honour their ancestors and those more recently passed on. The veil between the land of the living and the underworld is believed to be thinnest at this time, so those in the underworld can hear the prayers and well wishes of the their loved ones better. And maybe even respond.
  • Carving Jack-o-lanterns is actually a remnant of the tradition to carve turnips into lanterns. It was a tradition to remember the souls that were trapped in purgatory.
  • Wearing costumes on Halloween is left over from the belief that, because the veil between the living world and the underworld was so thin, wearing a mask would protect people from any evil spirits that might make their way into the living world. Sadly, this custom has become a competition to see who can wear the least clothing and still have a great costume.
  • Trick-or-Treating actually started with poor people going from door-to-door on Allhallowmas. They would say prayers for the dead and get food in return.
  • Trick-or-treating can also be traced back to the tradition of Guising. Children dressed up in costume and went door-to-door begging sweets and cakes and sometimes money off from their neighbors. Sound familiar?
  • The superstition of pins and razorblades in candy or candy apples was influenced by the media. The truth, sadly, is that many incidents of this or poison candy was parents doing it to their own children.
Got some more interesting facts about Samhain, Halloween or Allhallowmas/All Hallow’s Eve? Share them in a comment!!
All facts were either my own prior knowledge or found here or here. I paraphrased most of the things I found on the sites, or simply took the facts and wrote them in my own words. I claim no ownership of the information taken from either of these sites.
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