Wednesday, October 28, 2009

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28: The Meaning Behind Halloween

Well, in conjunction with my Who’s Samhain post I made earlier, I decided to follow it up with a post about the history behind the name Halloween. As we all know, the holiday started off as Samhain, a celebration that the Celtics celebrated along with their ancestors. This was apparently the only night that spirits were able to walk the Earth and families of these family members would hid in their homes in fear of these spirits. The Jack-o-lantern even originated from this ceremony and was based off of the Irish folktale, Stingy Jack.

The ceremony of Samhain was followed by All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Hallows Day. I looked up what the word ‘Hallow’ means and according to an online dictionary… it derives from the Old English phrase ‘Holy person,’ and so All Hallows’ Day is really another way of saying All Saints’ Day. Eventually people would start referring to All Hallows’ Eve as ‘Hallowe’en,’ which just became ‘Halloween’ over time.

During this time the Celtics believed that this was a huge transitional time both seasonal and spiritual. Since the weather was changing and things were becoming colder they believed that it opened some sort of connection with the dead. This time of year was known as a ‘turning point’ and it was during this ‘turning point’ when the souls took a shit from life to death. It’s symbolic considering seasonally, all the crops died off during this year.

So there it is, in a nutshell, what the meaning of Halloween is and what the meaning behind the name of Halloween came from. There is much, much, much more on this subject and if you want more reading on the subject… please check out my sources below.

How Stuff Works
Ezine Holiday Articles


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