Halloween is a holiday that goes beyond trick-or-treating, costumes and pranks. In fact, the holiday is related to Samhain, an ancient Gaelic festival. But what is that festival truly celebrating and what is its history? Find out here!
1. Samhain is a harvest festival.
Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, also known as the “darker half” of the year. That means when the pumpkins are being picked, you know Samhain is coming around the corner!
2. It takes place on the same day as modern Halloween.
It is celebrated from sunset on Oct. 31 to sunset on Nov. 1, placing it about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice (other times of the year that are important in Celtic culture). 24 hours of harvest festival fun? Nice!
3. The holiday has both supernatural and religious elements.
In modern days Samhain is celebrated as a religious holiday. Around the late 20th century it was believed to be a time when the boundary between this world and the “Otherworld” could be crossed. This meant that “spirits” and “fairies,” could come into our world. Feasts were also held where places were set out for the souls of dead family members.
4. It’s celebrated mainly in Europe.
Samhain is one of four Gaelic festivals based on the season, along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh, observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Though it is celebrated in other areas, it is specifically important to Celtic culture.
5. People trick-or-treat and play games on Samhain!
As part of the festival, people went door-to-door in costume, and recited poetry in exchange for food. Sound familiar? Divination rituals and games were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples. Okay, we enjoy candy more! But still good.
HollywoodLifers, would you celebrate Samhain? Let us know below!