The First Halloween (Samhain)

The origins of Halloween take us all the way back to the Celts over 2,000 years ago. They celebrated their New Year on November 1 and lived mainly in the areas we now know as Ireland, Northern France, and the United Kingdom.

Halloween was initially known as Samhain, which was an ancient Celtic Festival celebrating their New Year. In this festival, people would light bonfires and dress in ways they believed to ward off the spirits of the dead.

The Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on the night before their New Year. So on the night of October 31st, the Celts believed the dead would return to earth. They called this night Samhain.

To celebrate, Druids would build large, sacred bonfires to burn animals and crops as sacrifices to their deities. They also wore costumes such as animal heads and skins during the celebration. The people also believed that Celtic Priest and Druids could use the presence of the dead to make predictions about the upcoming winter.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire had conquered the majority of the Celtic territory by 43 A.D.  All Martyr’s day, which was a time in Rome when they would honor all the Christian Martyrs and have a feast, was moved from May 13th to November 1st by Pope Gregory III. Shortly after, they designated November 1st as All Saints Day.

The evening before All Saints Day was shortly after known as All Hallows Eve. Many traditions, including; dressing up, bonfires, parades, and more, were celebrated for All Hallows Eve just as they were for Samhain. Some believe this was an attempt to transform the Celtic holiday into a Church-sanctioned holiday by the Pope.

Halloween Comes To America

As the holiday came to America, the beliefs and traditions of many cultures merged. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, and eating treats, and over time, it evolved into the Halloween we know and love today.

Stay tuned to learn more about Samhain and its traditions tomorrow!


3 Comments

Tamera · September 20, 2021 at 4:40 pm

This post is very interesting. I actually have blog post coming speaking on the increase in Spiritual Warfare because of the Halloween season.

    untraditionalmother · September 21, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you! I would enjoy reading that, and maybe other readers would too! Feel free to leave a link if you would like! As always, thank you for reading!

Irene Beauty And More · September 25, 2021 at 2:25 pm

Good post. Actually, I do not celebrate Halloween but Samhain. It is a really ancient festivity though people think is something very new.

Leave a Reply