The “traditional” Halloween is a night of masks, parties, sweets and decorating your house like a torture chamber; but for a small, yet ever-growing, amount of people were celebrating an all together different tradition.
Samhain is a tradition celebrated by the Pagans and Wiccan’s of the world. Samhain means “end of summer”. It is when the days become dark and the sun loses its power.
Samhain is the day when the veils between the world of the living and dead are at their thinnest. It is the day in which people pay honour to their ancestors, extra chairs are set at the dinner table for the ancestors who may come to visit. This was so the living could look to their ancestors for guidance in the following year.
The tradition of giving sweets was originally created by the Celts who would present treats at the door to appease the spirits. They would also dress up so the spirits would think that they were amongst their own kind. The hollowed out pumpkin originally started as a hollowed out turnip; druids (Celts) would hollow out turnips and put lights in them to light the way whilst they went from house to house asking for food to sacrifice.
Nowadays, rituals are performed by both the solitary witch and the witches that belong to a coven. Many of them have an alter, which they will decorate with various different cleansed items such as candles, fruit and vegetables and pictures of their deceased loved ones with whom they are hoping to communicate. There is a ritualistic chant, or spell, that is said asking the Goddess to weaken the veil between life and death so that the ancestors can cross over to them.
Although this might seem like a morbid event to an outsider, for Pagan and Wiccan’s this is a day to celebrate. They do not fear anything to do with death, they see it as a way of life and it is as accepted as birth. It is believed that when someone dies, they go into the “summerland” where they can learn and prepare for when they are reborn again.
Although it is not a well known religion, Wicca has been around for a very long time, since before Christianity, and many people are turning to this religion. With more and more people turning to this, it won’t be long until teachers are telling people the origins of Halloween.