Halloween is a festive event. Handing out candy to all of the children in the neighborhood allows Me the chance to admire the adorable costumes. I make a point of preparing a pumpkin soup to add to the splendor and excitement of the season. Neighbors decorate their front windows, doors and porches with witches, pumpkins, ghosts, and skeletons. I’ve always felt a crisp and wonderful energy – Halloween is a time of magic.
Have You ever wondered about the ancient roots of Halloween. Often Our traditions predate Christianity. The ancient festival of Samhain was observed through out the Celtic lands , in Ireland, Scotland and Isle of Man, from October 31 until November 1st. The date falls at midpoint between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter solstice. For this reason, Samhain is classified as a cross quarter date on the Wheel of the Year of The Celtic Calendar. On this day the veil between our world and other dimensions blur, as energy surges . It is said at this time Souls return through this veil to visit. Many important events recorded in Irish Literature and Mythology are set during Samhain. Feasts were prepared, with place settings and food set aside for departed souls. Ritual bonfires were lit for protection of homes, livestock and farms. Divination rituals were important at this time. People went door to door in costumes, or disguises, reciting verses in exchange for food. Samhain officially marked the conclusion of the harvest season, and signaled the beginning of winter. In an agrarian society this involved preparing for the cold weather ahead. November 1st marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Samhain evolved into All Hallow’s Eve. Many other European cultures developed similar traditions. The Ukrainian people celebrate Malanka, the second week of January. People dress up in costumes, and visit friends and neighbors door to door, singing and caroling. The event involves dressing in masks and costumes.
By the 9th century, The Catholic Church proclaimed All Saint’s Day on November 1st, and All Souls Day on November 2. Eventually Samhain, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day evolved into the current observance of Halloween. In Mexico and Europe All Saints Day is observed on November 1st. Today, Celtic Neopagans and Wiccans observe Samhain. It is celebrated as a spiritual event incorporating the many of the original traditions and rituals of the season.
No discussion of Halloween would be complete with out the mention of black cats. During the middle ages, cats were believed to have evil powers. Cats across the European Continent were killed in large numbers. Black Cats were thought to be exceptionally evil. As soldiers and knights returned from the Crusades, rodents also boarded the ships carrying the deadly Bubonic Plague. Because the cat population was almost exterminated, the Plague spread faster and faster, through out Europe. Often people who dared to own a cat would avoid death. The extermination of cats was halted. Cats were brought back in to the farms, villages, towns, and cities. Cats played an important roll in eliminating the Plague in Europe.