It is Halloween! In many countries throughout the world children (and adults) will be celebrating the day, but what exactly are they celebrating? Of course, children are celebrating that free candy from going “trick or treating”, but why do we engage in these customs at all?
The roots of the holiday lie deep within our spiritual roots, Halloween is a holiday of religious importance. Known by numerous names including All Hallows Eve (which is the root of our “Halloween”), All Saints Eve and Samhain the holiday goes back to ancient times.
For Christians it is a day to celebrate those who have passed. Loved ones and saints are remembered with candles, prayers, and offerings. It is a day of mourning and celebration of the Saints named by the Church. It is a day of contemplation and spiritual connection. In order to celebrate the day without its pagan context, Christian schools and organizations hold “harvest festivals” with treats, games, prizes and more in order to commemorate the day.
For those of pagan faiths, Samhain has much deeper and older roots than what Christianity affords. Samhain is the mid-point between the Fall and Winter equinoxes and indicates the time of year when the seed is released from the plants and the world enters its time of sleep.
Halloween – life-death cycle
Wearing a costume and going trick or treating has its roots in the Celtic celebration of the holiday. While the bonfires which commemorated the beginning of the time of death in the cycle of life-death-rebirth burned high in the night, costumes were worn so that the spirits would not recognize the living.
Some cultures put out small plates of food for the Spirits to enjoy in the hopes that the “treats” left out for them will deter them from playing poltergeist type tricks on the household. This is the root of our modern “trick or treating” – the going from house to house demanding a treat.
The veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest than at any other time of year. Communication with those who have passed and access to the messages from Spirit and the Otherworld are believed to be easier than at any other time. It is one of the best days of the year to do a crossing over reading or to connect with those who have passed as the contact is easier due to the thinning of the veil.
By whatever name you call it – All Hallows Day, Reformation Day, All Saints Eve, Samhain, or Halloween, the holiday is one meant to celebrate life by honoring those who have passed, and the passing of the season of plenty to the “death” of winter. Whether you bob for apples, play tricks on friends, go trick or treating, or spend the day in quiet contemplation, Halloween marks the day when the contact with Spirit is at its strongest.
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