“Halloween is an ancient druidic holiday, one the Celtic peoples have celebrated for millennia. It is the crack between the last golden rays of summer and the dark of winter; the delicately balanced tweak of the year before it is given over entirely to the dark; a time for the souls of the departed to squint, to peek and perhaps to travel through the gap. What could be more thrilling and worthy of celebration than that? It is a time to celebrate sweet bounty, as the harvest is brought in. It is a time of excitement and pleasure for children before the dark sets in. We should all celebrate that.”
– Jenny Colgan
Today is another milestone for me. It marks the completion of the tenth month of my Positivity 365 Project. It’s also Halloween today – a day that’s all about eerie ghosts, goblins, and spirits; fun, food and celebration; and the mysteries of the Universe…it’s a day filled with magic.
Like the Indian festival of lights, Diwali, many cultures celebrate the end of the harvest season with food and festivities. You may not know that the modern version of Halloween has it’s roots in a Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter or the “darker half“ of the year, called Samhain.
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Samhain was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures, and special bonfires were lit that were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers. Samhain was seen as a transitional time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed, so the spirits could more easily come into our world.
“It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.”
– Erin Morgenstern
The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Play-acting and wearing disguises were part of the festival, which involved people going door-to-door in costume, often reciting verses in exchange for food.
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In the 9th century AD, Western Christianity shifted the date of All Saints’ Day to November 1st, while November 2nd later became All Souls’ Day. Over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create what we now know as Halloween.
This time of year is an occasion to celebrate – a time to rejoice in the abundance of nature’s bounty, a time to be grateful for all the wonderful blessings we have, a time to embrace the magic all around us!
Happy Halloween! 🎃👻
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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