All about Hallowe’en and spooky things (woo-haa-haa-haa)
1. The word ‘witch’ comes from the Old English wicce, meaning ‘wise woman’. Wiccan were highly respected at one time. Some say that witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.
2. The Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain evolved in to trick or treating. Samhain was a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
3. The Christian church, in their beid to convert Pagans, decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.
4. Halloween is short for ‘Hallows’ Eve’, which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1.
5. The colours typically associated with Halloween are not coincidental – orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and relates to the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and reminds us that Halloween was once a festival marking those who had passed from life to death.
5. During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames – ‘bone fire’ became the ‘bonfire’ we know today.
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Reference: Thompson, Sue Elled, ed. Holiday Symbols and Customs. 3rd Edition. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc, 2003.