A great deal of misunderstanding exists around Halloween. Therefore, what follows may help to clarify a few points.
Halloween was originally called ‘SAMHAIN,’ which comes from the Gaelic/Celtic meaning for ‘November’ and ‘summer’s end’. The original Celtic settlers arrived here in around 600 BC, fetching with them their own nature-based polytheistic form of spiritual belief systems. Samhain represented the beginning of the long cold winter; a time when the cattle had to be herded into sheltered quarters as a defensive measure against expected harsh snow-fall, frost, and blizzard. It was also a gloomy period for many Celts, as the winter’s chill could always prove too much for many elderly, sick, or loved ones badly injured in combat.
FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD
Samhain, because of its link with the ‘Dark Half’ of the year, was then regarded as the “Festival of the Dead,” and a time when the barrier betwixt the living and their treasured ancestors was at the thinnest point. This had nothing to do with evil of any kind. Such ridiculous notions were only promoted later on by the insular Church fathers in order to win the populace away from its indigenous, earth-orientated spiritual heritage. Today’s Halloween party games such as Trick or treat, Apple-bobbing etc, all stem from ancient Celtic customs/traditions.
Samhain, although often a tremendously serious affair to the elders was, in addition, the last chance for the younger hearts in the clan to let off steam before the cold blanket of winter finally settled in. For many years Christianity and Paganism coexisted quite well. However, in the year 601 AD, Pope Gregory instructed his missionary St Augustine to: ‘Destroy all Pagan Idols and cleanse the native temples’ in order to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity. The iron-fist of ‘monotheistic – absolutism’ was to open up the floodgates of cultural spiritual terrorism for the unsuspecting Pagan folk of these green isles. Many pre-Christian festivals had, by this time, been commandeered by the new-fangled ‘one god’ religion from the East. Nevertheless, Samhain with its mysterious blend of reflection, sadness, magic and joy proved the hardest nut for the obsessive missionaries to crack.
INDIGENOUS GODS OF NATURE TURNED INTO PERSONIFICATIONS OF EVIL BY FIXATED CHURCH MISSIONARIES
The Celtic ‘Horned God’ Cernunnos, Herne, or Belatucadros (to mention but a few of his titles), is a deity representing the vital masculine fertilising aspects inherent in nature. The Greek Pan and Roman Faunus also fill similar ‘Horned God’ roles. The Pagan Celts did not believe in the Christian notion of evil (Satan). However, in order to denigrate the old native religions, the Christian Church conceived the destructive myth that native horned deities, like the above, were all different faces of the ‘Devil’.
More about the Horned God here: http://ufodigest.com/article/sign-horned-one
Intolerant absolutist moralisers are still to this day using this preposterous Christian falsehood; deviously linking our rich Pagan spiritual birthright with ecclesiastically – professed evil. More important data here on this festival:
Visit this informative site for more info on the ‘real’ reasons behind previous disinformation put out by sectarian fundamentalists.
More Halloween facts below
(1) Halloween is traditionally one of the oldest British religious festivals celebrated in Scotland particularly up to and beyond the 1870s. It is not an American invention.
(2) Trick or Treat is not an American invention – the games, fun and harum-scarum at Halloween are all typically British being listed in Robert Burns 1875 poem Halloween for all to see. It is part of our traditional culture.
(3) There is absolutely no medical evidence to suggest that dressing up or the wearing of masks is psychologically damaging to children or in any way harmful. The allegation is false. Children have been happily celebrating Halloween for hundreds of years without harm.
(4) Halloween is a genuine Celtic festival and was celebrated in Britain long before it was Christianised. The early Christians invented All Saints Day on November 2 to try to replace Halloween but failed because the people enjoyed Halloween so much.
(5) Attacks on Halloween by religious bigots are now outlawed under the Religious Hatred laws and Pagans are demanding that the Church of England stops those amongst its members who feel they have to insult the ceremonies and rites of other religions. Can you imagine the outcry if they had accused Moslems of abusing their children by making them fast during Ramadan?
(6) Everyone to his own, Pagans see the modern Christmas as an appallingly materialistic travesty of ancient religious ideals, yet we don’t go around demanding that Christmas decorations and outdoor illuminations are banned.
(7) Saman’s Vigil is the Anglicised interpretation of the Celtic festival ‘Samhain’ pronounced ‘Zoween’ or ‘Sowin’. It is also termed Festival of Light or Fire. The Vigil of Saman, or Samhain, occurs on October 31st and was observed for at least a thousand years before Britain was Christianised.
(8) Samhain was the Celts’ most important festival because it was marked as their New Year’s Day.
(9) Saman is the Celtic lord of Death and Rebirth. Samhain is the mysterious, late-season festival for remembering our beloved ancestors and renewing fire for the harsh cold months of winter. Its basis is intimately linked with ‘LOVE’ and the natural cycle and not any type of evil, as troublemaking evangelists would have us believe.
(10) Christian fundamentalist activists always rush in to claim that Halloween is not a British tradition and should not be followed in the U.K. This falsehood relies upon igniting ‘Anti-American’ sentiment within insular British minds, because the truth of the matter is that Halloween is NOT an American importation, it is an entirely British tradition, which was actually exported to the U.S.A. by European immigrants. Such fundamentally – inspired racism, against our American cousins, should not be tolerated in a modern UK society.
Halloween is essentially an ancient celebration of love for life, our mysterious affiliation with the earth and intimate respect for the dearly departed.
A word of caution
Children are best accompanied by adults when Trick or treating and the ever-present dangers of messing with fire at Halloween, Bonfire Night, or indeed at any other parties, must always be kept in mind.
Halloween Parade (and official controversy) reported on OTS News
Please see Pat’s explanatory blog link for more facts regarding Halloween and discover how some superfluous fundamentalist prejudice was previously arrested.
A happy and safe Halloween to all…
Pat Regan ©
NB. Pat is the author of several published books including, ‘The New Pagan Handbook’ and also ‘The Devil God’s Best Friend’
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