Halloween or ‘All Hallows Eve’ is celebrated every October 31st, with costumes, lollies and the occasional party. Originally it was the Northern Hemisphere pagan celebration called Samhain which is Gaelic word for ‘Summer’s End’. This celebration is thousands of years old as it marked the end of the summer and the time when animals would be slaughtered to feed the community through Winter. It was thought that the veil between the world of the living and the dead was at its thinnest on this night– allowing people to remember and reconnect with their loved ones who had passed.
This connection with the world of the dead is where many of the ‘spooky’ elements of Halloween come from, like ghost and witch costumes. Here are some of the meanings behind Halloween.
Jack O’Lanterns. These carved out pumpkin lanterns are put outside the home or as a decoration at Halloween. Originally made from turnips, when settler to America took their pagan traditions with them, they substituted American pumpkins instead. The original meaning was the light in the pumpkin would guide lost souls safely to heaven or the afterlife.
Spiders. There is an old tradition that if you spot a spider on Halloween it means a passed loved one is watching over you.
Trick or Treat. This tradition comes from the ancient belief that spirits and ghosts could come back to earth on Halloween and would disguise themselves in human form and ask for food and goods. It was thought that if you turned them away without giving them anything it would bring a curse down on you. This has now become a tradition of giving lollies and treats to children dressed as ghosts or other spooky things.
One of the more spiritual ways to celebrate Halloween is to use it for its tradition meaning – remembering loved ones who have passed. This doesn’t have to be a painful or sad thing. It can be just taking the time to think about them and to honour them and their lives. You could light a candle while you think about them, or you could just look at their photo or hold them in your mind. Feel the love between you, send them positive light energy and thank them for their role in your ilfe.
However you spend this evening I hope you have a very happy and enjoyable Halloween!