Of all the holidays, Halloween is particularly unique. On an evening laden with fallen, fragrant leaves of autumn, celebrating a shadowy and mysterious otherworldliness as winter’s icy pull beckons.
As children don their masterfully wrapped mummy ensembles and pointy witch’s hats, it’s likely that they’re not considering the history behind this day’s celebration. With Halloween quickly approaching, let’s take a moment to examine the origins of the numinous and haunting holiday, and why it still plays such a powerful role in our lives today…
Also known as All Hallows Eve or All Saints Eve, Halloween arose as a New Year festival called Samhain. Celebrated on October 31st, Samhain marked the end of summer, and the beginning of their new year on November 1st. Marking its date, Samhain was a major festival of harvest—a time to observe the changing season, recognizing death as a necessity for new life.
The Irish Celts believed that the veil separating the living from the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain, and the spirits of the recently departed would return in search of living bodies to possess. To the Celts, all laws of time and space were suspended during this night, allowing the spirit world who sought hope for the afterlife to intermingle with the living. Hence, villagers adorned ghoulish attire, paraded across villages, and caused damage and destruction in order to frighten the spirits away.
While belief in spirits slowly began to wane, many traditions of Samhain remained. Children play-acted the parts of evil spirits seeking appeasement, going from door to door asking for food or treats. Around 700 AD, the church deemed this holiday to go against their values; in a move to combat the festival’s merrymaking around death, they replaced it with a celebration of eternal life. Rather than honoring spirits, the day was to honor saints who had modeled the Christian life. Thus, November 1st was named All Saints Day, All Souls Day, or All Hallowed Day. The evening before was aptly called “All Hallows Eve,” which was then shortened to Halloween.
The enigmatic spirit that lies around this holiday isn’t just smoke and mirrors. There’s a deep-rooted mysticism and connection to the supernatural and spiritual—we are connected to something more powerful than we’re fully aware. While being festive on Halloween seems almost ordinary, it wouldn’t hurt to look deeper for a moment or two and reflect on our deeper spiritual connection with those who have gone before us.
Call a psychic on Keen to help align you to the spiritual powers of this holiday, reflect on the past, and pave the road to a fresh new season.