I’m being insincere when I apologize to you about all of the Halloween commentary lately. I’m sure you can tell that I think this is one of the best holidays of the year, and it jazzes me like few other holidays do—it rivals even my birthday and the winter holidays! Halloween is a big part of the culture where I live, and just like everything else in this country it came from someplace in the past and over the ocean. I like to think pretty liberally about the whole “Remember past orthodoxy” thing and apply it generously to culture, history, business, as well as religion, but for now I’m going to focus on the origins of Halloween because I’m pretty confident that many of you don’t know!
Did you know that Halloween’s roots can be traced to the Celtic (Located in Ireland, UK, and Northern France) superstitions and a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-een) celebrated October 31st- November 2nd? The Celts were superstitious folks concerning transitional periods (sunset into night, the change of the seasons…) and the end of harvest and darkening days was one of their most superstitious periods. They believed that at the close of October into the beginning of November was a special period in which time lost all meaning and top became down and the dead were able to ascend to Earth while the living decayed into the Nether. It should feel like no coincidence to you that this time punctuated the end of the harvest season and signaled the beginning of darkening of days: the colder winter months.
The “Dumb Supper” was one method of celebrating where the Celts would prepare a meal to share with their ancestors. An honorary plate was set at the head of the table, and the meal was eaten in silent reverence. Looking up at the empty chair was forbidden (as it was considered rude) and would land you with bad luck! After the meal the uneaten food would be thrown into the wood for the faes or shared with those in the village who were lesser off in wealth, and the bones and inedible would be burned in a giant bonfire that’d incinerate them into ash in further offering. Other food sources—such as apples—were thought to be the fruit of the Nether and were additionally used for such activities as divination (apparently the “starlike” seed pattern when cutting an apple from the side was an auspicious thing for the Celts) along with hazelnuts which were a sacred fruit in neighboring Scottish and Irish mythology. One particular activity that hazelnuts were used for involved writing all of the names of all of the eligible bachelors and bachelorette’s upon before throwing into the fire. The order in which they popped allegedly linked the names and foretold a likeliness of matrimony in the tides of time.
Enter the Invaders...
Who is the Witch?
Once I called myself a Christian, then an atheist, and a Satanist. At the end of the day, I'm just a person who is living her truth one day at a time. I'm interested in religion, its effects on the mind, the occult, and more. Learn more about me on the about page.