As the leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, and red, falling from the trees to blanket the ground outside, it's a sign not only of dropping temperatures but that Halloween is on its way.
This spooky holiday is beloved by people worldwide. Not just children who get in on the costume-wearing and candy-getting, but adults too, those who love the atmosphere, the decor, and the surprising history behind this day.
Tons of life's spookier elements have fascinating histories. Their rich histories doesn't mean they're not applicable to the modern day too, though some may consider them 'alternative' approaches to very human problems.
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The 31 Days Of October
Ghost stories, jack-o-lanterns, a cloudy moon in the sky, and a black cat watching your path, all of these and more are considered staples of the Halloween season. There's an eerie vibe in the air, but also a cheerful one, as people everywhere are excited to show off their costumes and gear up to collect bag-fulls of candy.
What most people don't consider when this time of year rolls around is how we got here, and the centuries of history that have led up to what we know as Halloween today.
The Origin Story
The history of Halloween begins with the ancient Celtic population of Ireland. They celebrated the turn of the new year closer to what we now consider November 1st, as that was thought to be the true transition between the warm, lush summer and the cold, harsh winter.
So, just as we celebrate New Year's Eve, they celebrated the night before their year turned over too. This celebration was called Samhain.
On the night of Samhain, it was believed that the veil between the living world and the afterlife was at its thinnest, meaning ghosts were capable of walking Earth once more.
Pros And Cons
These spirits were believed to be largely malicious. They would damage crops, property, and cause other general mischief.
On the other hand, though, holy priests were also able to make their best predictions about the year ahead on Samhain thanks to that same thinned veil. This is where Halloween night activities began.
These priests would speak at bonfires attended by the locals who want to hear what they should expect in the coming year. However, they also wanted to protect themselves from the spirits that were about.
So, What Did They Do?
They wore costumes! They dressed up as spiritual creatures and other beings that mingled with ghosts so that they may blend in and not be bothered by the real spirits that were roaming around.
Though they feared supernatural interference, these bonfires were generally seen as fun, lively events. People told each others' fortunes, ate food, and used gourds to create natural lanterns, similar to the jack-o-lanterns of modern times.
These bonfires would also attract large amounts of bugs, which then attracted bats who would eat the bugs, earning bats their association with Halloween.
These celebrations would continue until Christian influence began to spread in Celtic lands, thus overtaking the now-considered pagan holidays that came before.
Though, Christianity did have a holiday around then as well, All Soul's Day on November 1st, also known as All Hallows. They would still celebrate the night before, thus marking All Hallows Eve. As I'm sure you can guess, this name was eventually combined and shortened into what we now know today as Halloween.
What About Some Other Halloween Symbols?
The association between black cats and Halloween can be traced back to the Middle Ages. In that era, it was believed that witches would disguise themselves and avoid being spotted by turning themselves into black cats.
The colors of black and orange go back to Samhain as well, as for the Celts, they would use black to symbolize the 'death' of summer while orange was used to represent the harvest season. Now, we consider them to be generally 'spooky' colors when paired together.
A Couple Possibilities
When it comes to trick-or-treating, historians don't actually have a consensus about how it came to be, but there are a few theories.
One of them also involves an Irish Celtic game that young people would play called 'guising,' in which they'd dress up in costume and perform a song, joke, or other merriment for their neighbors while then asking for a treat in return.
There's also the Christian tradition of 'souling' that goes back to the 15th century, where people would go door-to-door asking for 'soul cakes.' These treats were given in exchange for a promise that the recipient would pray for the souls of the giver's dead relatives.
With Time Comes Change
The now-lighthearted nature of Halloween developed over time. As less and less people celebrated Samhain as a serious holiday, some cherrypicked traditions, symbols, themes, and aesthetics remained and were passed around until they warped into what we know as Halloween today.
Halloween is now considered secular, not tied to any one particular religion, and is more about celebrating the spookier side of life while also giving people the chance to dress up, have fun, and eat candy. We don't really have another holiday like that.
Lean Into The Fun
Halloween is a wonderful time of year, one that's truly unique and allows us to indulge in things we otherwise don't really get the opportunity to. Even if you're not much of a Halloween person, there are plenty of other autumn activities that take place around then to focus on instead, and you can't deny the fun atmosphere it brings for the weeks leading up to it.
Its history is fascinating, shaped by those living off the land and changed over time as we modernized, but the fun elements of it remain. Halloween is a holiday with a young, free-spirited type of energy, one that should be valued year after year.
Though many of the more mystical elements of Halloween have long since been forgotten, that doesn't mean you can't incorporate your own. The use of astrology or tarot are considered mystical, and both can be immensely helpful in your life, even when it comes to big life goals like finding your soulmate.
If you're tired of waiting for them to arrive and want to take a more proactive approach, there are experts you can talk to today that will use your astrological signs to help you find your soulmate. Click here to learn more and set yourself up for the rest of your life.