All Hallow’s Eve – Halloween 2023.
They are both the same pagan festivals that honor the ancestors, give thanks for the harvest, involve children, and bring the community together.
Halloween in Celtic Europe
In the United States, immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland brought with them the Pagan traditions from their native lands that we know as HALLOWEEN!
Pagan or Christian we celebrate the same way.
In Scotland, All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, is called Nos Calan Gaea, (1st November) means ‘The First of Winter’.
In Ireland the Gaelic word is Samhain, meaning ‘Summer’s End’ (October 31st) I
This time of year was associated with death. On this day, the Celts believed the veil between the living and the dead was especially thin. This allowed spirits of the dead to visit the living. In Ireland, mumming was the practice of putting on costumes, going door-to-door and singing songs to the dead. Cakes were given as payment.
It was the time to honor ancestors and welcome the new year. During Samhain, people would “sacrifice“ cattle for a community celebration. They built bonfires, and Jack o Lanterns, made out of turnips. To protect themselves from fairies, and Sidhs they wore animal masks, and left them offerings of food and drink outside their homes.And they would have included some kind of sport competition or horse racing. Children were told to behave or the Goblins will carry them away.
The tradition of “dumb supper” began during this time, in which there was an empty chair at the table., That night, doors and windows might be left open for the dead to come in and eat cakes that had been left for them.
Halloween and "All Saint's Day"
The Romans who conquered the Celts in 43 AD, had a celebration of manes or spirits of the dead called Feralia on February 21 for Dis Manibus. during which offerings and gifts were placed at the graves and tthe funeral feast was celebrated. That was a Pagan celebration.
It was until Pope Gregory III (died in 741) who chose November 1, for the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in Rome. The day before, October 31st , [ Winter’s Equinox] was then the feast’s evening vigil, and came to be called “All Hallows Even” in early English and then it was shortened to “Hallows E’en” and later to “Halloween.”
Books you might like to read or gift.