There are a great many stories about the origins of Halloween and Samhain. I arrived home last night and my wife was really fascinated with the History Channel’s story on it. I didn’t get a chance to watch it but since I enjoy learning about the history and background of these holidays and celebrations, that I would do some digging. (..in the grave yard.. bwa ha ha!)
From what I have read, misinformation about this holiday is rampant! I’m trying not to add to the misinformation, Samhain simply means… “Summers End”.
Samhain is: a celebration of summers end, the final harvest and crops being stored for the winter. Acknowledgment of going from the warm to cold season. It is also to remember the dead. Some have referred to it as the “Feast of the Dead”, people would build bonfires and share communal meals together.
I have often suggested people research the origins of their own religions to learn more about those celebrations. In this instance, it is said that Pope Gregory moved the May 13th celebration of All Martyrs Day to coincide with this pagan festival. October 31st is considered All- Hallows’ Eve, November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls day.
I have made references in the past of Christians coinciding their holidays to make it easier to convert Pagan and other religions but according to ->this article <-
“As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.
In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John’s Day was set on the summer solstice.”
I find it ironic that there are some who avoid Halloween based on its perceived Pagan or Celtic origins especially since the celebrations are really close to being one and the same and may have some Christian influence. In my research, some traditions such as giving out “treats” may have been introduced by Christians. The information is a bit sketchy!
Depending on what information I read, there are those who do not believe Samhain had anything to do with celebrating those who have died. If that is the case, then why would the Pope suggest to move “All Martyrs Day” to coincide with Samhain? There seems to be a disconnect? Experts?
Happy Halloween!… just enjoy it 🙂