Oh yes…Tis the Season! As the veil is thinning in the month of October we will start to see all of the usual hubbub of witches, goblins, and black cats galore! That is what makes this time of year so fun and so spooky for all the kids and adults alike who enjoy to dress up and go to their Halloween Parties. I’m curious though…how many people really know the story of Halloween and how it became the Holiday it is? There is a lot of backstory here and I am very excited to share it with all of you!
2000 years ago Halloween started as a Celtic Festival called Samhain. Some of you may have heard about this Pagan holiday that has been celebrated for Centuries, but if not here is a quick rundown. Back in Ancient Celtic times, the new year started on Nov, 1st. It was a time when the harvests had all been hauled in and everyone was in preparation for the long, hard winter months. It was an end of one story and the beginning of another. The Celts also believed that the veil between the living and the dead was at it’s thinnest during this time of year and culminated on Oct. 31st. They would then dress up as ghosts and goblins to scare away any of the dead that were coming back to visit. As time moved on, Christianity took over and the Ancient festivals and traditions seemed to meld into Christian holidays.
Witches also seemed to meld into this holiday as it was a Pagan celebrated time, and many Pagans have always been considered witches, as Wicca is a Pagan religion where the participants are called witches. The connotation of the term Witch has changed over centuries. We all know that religious persecution is a big part of the world’s history, and we all know about the persecution that many witches have succumbed to over the centuries. There is a ton of history there, but I will not get into that now. Today I want to talk about, and let you all in on the fun ways we have come to celebrate this historically rich holiday!
Over the Centuries certain Halloween superstitions have taken over this holiday due to archaic ways of thinking, but they are fun and we now incorporate many of these ideas into our present ways of decorating and celebrating. I am not knocking it at all…I love it too! Here are just a few of these superstitions….
Black cats, Bats, and Spiders have been believed to be witches familiars and so, of course, they have been used during our current times to decorate and create spooky scenes.
The old cackling witches with pointy hats and a warted, crooked nose we see during the Halloween season come from a Pagan Goddess known as The Crone. The Crone actually symbolizes wisdom, earth, and the season of change but of course, as time has moved on she has transformed into what we see today during the Halloween season.
The colors orange and black were brought into the Halloween season as orange is part of the color scheme of Fall foliage and the harvests that came in, while black represents the death of summer and the season of change. Over time the colors green, purple, and yellow have also been incorporated into the color scheme as well.
The witches broom came from medieval times when older woman were usually very poor and could not afford horses, so they would have to walk through their woods to forage. They would use walking sticks to help them navigate the terrain and most walking sticks were actually brooms that were used in the home. Some folklore has talked about ceremonies where witches would rub their bodies with ointments (which were hallucinogens) and make them feel as if they were flying.
These are just a few of the Halloween traditions and adornments that we have grown to love and incorporate into this holiday. As so many of us love celebrating this fun holiday, let’s not forget where it all started from. It started with the Ancient Celts beliefs and culture which was very Pagan. We now see so many religions, creeds, and races celebrate this holiday and it is a wonderful tribute to so many of our’s lineage. So take the time to honor and celebrate so many of our ancestor’s at this time. Give thanks to the new year upon us as we are gifted with a clean slate to start anew with what it is we are creating for ourselves. Happy Halloween and enjoy the Season of the Witch!