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Halloween – Where did it all start?

Halloween

For many people Halloween is the holiday that is the most anticipated and looked forward too. It provides adults and children alike with the opportunity to get dressed up, pretend to be someone or ‘something’ that they are not, and parade around in a kind of holiday roleplay. For the children, there is the opportunity to collect their own bodyweight in chocolate and candy, while for the adults it is an opportunity to not only party, but also reconnect with their inner child. Despite Halloween becoming over commercialised in recent years, with many English traditions giving way to imported American traditions, the holiday remains one of the most important events in the Pagan calendar.

Many of the Halloween customs that are carried out today have evolved from Pagan roots, especially those of Celtic origins. Traditionally the Pagan festival of Samhain marked summer’s end and was held on or around October 31st. It marked the coming of the darker half of the year and was a time when the veil between the living and the dead was believed to be at its thinnest. This was a celebration to mark the end of the year, rather than at calendars end in December, Samhain was in effect a Pagan New Year celebration, giving thanks for the bounty that had been harvested and asking for blessings for the year ahead. Offerings of food and drink were left outside to appease any spirits that chose to cross the veil, so that crops and livestock would not be blighted in the coming year. This is the root of the handing out of candy on the doorstep to trick or treaters which we do today

According to ancient folklore, All Hallows Eve is the one night of the year when the veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead is at its thinnest. This provides those in the spirit realm to visit the mortal world. In fact, one of the reasons behind the tradition of dressing up as ghouls and spectre etc. was to allow the dead to walk freely through the streets. With everyone dressed up, it was difficult to tell who was mortal and who was not. Of course, along with the spirits of departed loved ones, All Hallows Eve also allowed the darker spirits, creatures and entities to travel between the realms. In order to afford households some protection from these negative influences, protective totems would be placed outside of the home, or in the window. Over the years this has developed into the tradition of carving faces and symbols into pumpkins. The light inside still shows the way for the good spirits to return to their families, however the protective totem would ensure that it was only the good spirits that made it over the threshold.

Even now many families set an extra place at the dinner table, just in case a visitor from the other realm should arrive. Over the centuries many traditions have changed with the times. Now while children are ‘trick or treating’ they collect masses upon masses of candy. Only a couple of decades ago, it was money that was handed out to Halloween callers, loose change which would ‘buy’ the household protection from any evil spirits that should be roaming the area. Originally callers on All Hallows Eve would be presented with a small baked item known as a ‘soul cake’. More like a cookie than a true cake, each one was marked with a cross before being baked. Each cake which was then eaten was representative of a lost soul being returned to the afterlife where they belonged.

With the veil between the two worlds being thinnest it makes October the perfect month for a psychic reading. Why not get a reading by one of our professional psychics, mediums and clairvoyants? Call our friendly booking helpdesk on 0800 067 8371 or view our How to Book page for more info.

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