Origins of Halloween

By Malcolm Williams

As October 31st closes in we all know what holiday is due to return, yes, it’s Halloween. This day is greatly celebrated in American culture as a day where people get dressed up in costumes and where kids across the nation go door to door asking for candy.

The most amusing part of this day, to most people, is the theme of horror and mystery. The most mysterious part of this holiday that many people may or may not know is its origin. How did this celebration all begin, and what exactly is it celebrating? To some people it may not matter but to others like myself they may find it very interesting.

The holiday we call Halloween was originally a day to celebrate the harvest. People from nations all over the world have rejoiced over this holiday to celebrate the fertileness of their land in providing crops and produce. What makes this holiday different among the nations is how the harvest was celebrated and what deities were honored for providing them with such a bountiful harvest and the way in which that particular deity or deities were honored.

Some middle eastern cultures would honor their goddess of fertility as being their provider, she was known by a few names, such as: Ashteroth, Ishtar and most commonly known as Easter. Some middle eastern societies would honor her during the fall and the spring, but here in the United States we celebrate the holiday of Easter mainly in the Spring.

The way most people celebrate Halloween today is most closely related to the customs and traditions of the ancient Celts, pronounced like Kelts. The only difference between today’s celebration in the United States and theirs, is the Celts celebrated this holiday more for a spiritual gain rather than today where we celebrate it more for self-gratification and the opportunity to just have fun getting dressed up. These people took it a lot more seriously.

Like most nations in the world, the purpose the Celts wore mask and/or costumes was to harness the spirit of whatever person or deity they were trying to emulate. It was believed by many ancient cultures that a mask could be used as gateway by spirits, so by wearing that mask or costume they would no longer be there self, it was hoped that they would be possessed by that spirit through invitation of wearing that particular costume.

Well how does trick or treating vary? Like mentioned before by wearing whatever costume they were wearing they were now possessed by that spirit, so if that person in costume went door to door asking for food it wasn’t for themselves but it was as an offering to the spirit or spirits being honored. In other cultures if they weren’t offering food to the spirits then they would offer another spirit to the spirits in the sacrifice of people.

Though there are people who don’t take this holiday seriously there are still many people who do take this day seriously in the United States and around the world. Some people who practice witchcraft, known as Wiccans, and some Satanist organizations in Manhattan may greatly honor this holiday in their own way. It is believed that during this time of the year and during the springtime the veil between the spiritual realm and the physical realm is at its thinnest. Therefore making it easier to call upon certain spirits.

Some would ask, ” Why would the veil be thinnest between the spirit realm during this time of the year and spring”?

Before I answer the question it is important to mention that nature is a prime staple of worship among those who practice witchcraft.

With that said, they may have considered the veil to be the thinnest during these times of the year because spring and fall are transitional seasons where nature is unstable. During these two seasons plant life is either going from death to life or life to death. So they may have believed that if the earth was unstable during these times of the year than maybe the spirit realm was also unstable.

Many people today including Wiccans claim there séances are stronger during these times of the year , but personally I don’t think it has anything to do with the seasons, but it may have been that there faith in those spells is stronger during these times of the year.

A lot of people may consider this time of the year as an evil time of the year that should never be celebrated, but many cultures celebrated this day for a number of different reasons, such as for the harvest, so in the end it really depends on what your celebrating it for, and/or who your celebrating it to.

One response

  1. Very interesting article!

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