Halloween from 18th Century – Oidhche Shamhna !

Oidhche Shamhna to everyone reading this. Pardon? It’s Scottish Gaelic,
meaning HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Now why am i wishing you in Scots Gaelic?
Let’s see. This tradition was originated by the Celts who named it the
Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’ (pronounced sow-in). Celts were a collection
of ‘celtic speaking people’ who originated in north western and western

Around the 18th century, Pope Gregory ||| designated November 1st as
All Saints Day. On this day, people honoured any saint who didn’t have
a day of their own. The mass(prayer) said on this day was known as
‘Allhallowmas’ which means the mass of all those who are hallowed(made
holy). The night before this naturally became known as ‘All Hallows Eve’
which eventually changed to Halloween.

On All Hallows Eve, people would light bonfires and wear spooky costumes
to ward-off ghosts and bad spirits which according to them returned to
Earth with the intention of causing trouble and damaging crops (sounds
hilarious right?) , but for people entirely depending on the natural world
it seems quite fair.

For them, 31st October marked as the end of summer and harvest
and the beginning of dark cold winter, a time of year that was oftenassociated with human death.

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary
between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the
portals to the ‘otherworld’ opened. Therefore, to commemorate the event,
they built huge sacred bonfires where the people gathered to burn crops
and sacrifice animals to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the
Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and
attempted to tell each otherโ€™s fortunes.

Copyright Raini Scott for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. www.beltane.org / facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

THERE YOU GO FOLKS! If you think ‘Samhain’ is all about trick or
treating, carving jack-o-lanterns and dressing up as ghouls? Try to
think of it as an ancient ritual that has evolved into thousand different
traditions and survived within generations. So this Halloween, don’t
forget to set a place at the table for the ones who might revisit.

Blogger – Vandita Singh