Halloween and it's History             Home

Introduction
Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain
and the Christian holiday All Saints' Day, but is today largely a secular celebration.
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Up through the early 20th century, the spelling "Hallowe'en" was frequently used, eliding the "v" and shortening the word. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English
(ealra hál?ena mæssedæ?, the feast of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556. Source.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Halloween originated among the Irish Celts, Scots and Anglo-Saxons in Britain long before the Christian era.Originally
called Samhain, it was a time when they believed the division between the worlds of the living and the dead became
very thin and when ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. The name "Halloween" is a shorter form
for the Gaelic name All-hallow-evening.
Pope Boniface IV instituted All Saints' Day in the 7th century as a time to honor saints and martyrs, replacing the
pagan festival of the dead. In 834, Gregory III moved All Saint's Day to Nov. 1, thus making Oct. 31 All Hallows' Eve
('hallow' means 'saint').

Celts, selts, or Kelts, kelts. A name given to people speaking the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family.
It is properly used to refer to a language group,not to a race, since the Celts consisted of tribes of mixed racial origins.
The Celtic languages are diveded into two main branches,Gaelic (or Goidelic) and Brythonic (sometimes called British). Gaelic includes Irish, Scottish and Manx, which are spoken in parts of Ireland and Scotland and on the Isle of Man.
Brythonic includes Welsh and Breton.
The origin of the Celts is unknown, but they are associated with the La Tene culture of the late Iron age in Europe.
Between 500 and 1B.C. they expanded from a center in France (ancient Gaul) and Germany over most of Europe and
Britain. In 100B.C. they were found in 8 main divisions - In Gaul, Britain, Belgic Gaul (Belgium), Spain, Italy, the Alps,
and the valley of the Danube. They were barbarians and their raids were the terror of the ancient world.

                         
Image 1. Celtic warrior`s garments, replicas. In the museum Kelten-Keller, Rodheim-Bieber, Germany.
Author. Gorinin. Image 2. Celtic warriors.

Halloween. An old Celtic tradition
Halloween has been celebrated in one form or another for over 2000 years, but how has it evolved over time to be-
come the holiday we know today. What are the Origins Of Modern Halloween? It is certainly true that the festival of
2000 years ago bears little resemblance to the one we know today, but even in it's oldest form it still contains
elements we will recognize.

Ancient Times
The original source of what has evolved into our modern Halloween holiday can be traced back over 2000 years to
the Celts that lived in and around Ireland and England. They celebrated their new year on November 1st as they
regarded this to be the end of summer and the beginning of the cold dark winter period, a time that to the Celtic
people was strongly associated with death.
They believed that the night before the new year the boundaries between the living and the dead realm was at its
weakest, and the spirits of the dead could roam the land of the living. On this night they held the pagan celebration
Samhain pronounced sow-in, it literally means summers end.
During this celebration they would gather together in fields and build large fires called bon fires that were supposed
to ward away the spirits of the dead. They would also dress up in animal skins and wear animal masks and tell each
others fortunes. At the end of the night each would take embers from the fire to light their homes fire grate, they
believed that a fire lit from the Samhain bon fire would keep them safe from death throughout the winter period.

Roman Occupation
When the Romans came to Britain in 40AD they occupied the Celtic lands, and over the next 400 years of their rule
the Roman festivals of Feralia, when Romans celebrated the passing of the dead, and Pomona a celebration for the
goddess of the same name, grew to replace Samhain. The goddess Pomona is the roman goddess of fruit and trees
often associated with apples, the incorporation of this into Samhain is thought to be why the tradition of bobbing for
apples has become associated with the Halloween celebration.

Christian Influences
By the 7th century Christianity had spread to the Celtic lands and it was during this time that Pope Boniface IV
founded all saints day, to be held on the 1st day of November. It was a day that celebrated all the saints that didn't
already have a day associated with them. The choice of day was no accident and is widely believed to be an attempt
by the church to replace the pagan holiday with a christian one, much as they did with Easter (pagan festival of Ostara/Eostre), and Christmas (pagan festival of Yule). In the language of the time all saints day was called
Alholowmesse, this evolved over time into all - hallowmas and then finally all hallows. The evening before this
celebration was called all hallows eve which became Halloween.