Halloween is the Christian overlay of a celebration far more ancient, a pagan Celtic festival called Samhain. Halloween is thought to be when the dead and the undead walk the earth, bringing havoc and fear to the living. This is how the good Christian people were encouraged to think of the ancient Gods, ancestors, and fairy-folk, or Sidhe, who were originally honoured at Samhain. As far as we can tell, the ancient Irish people never had a God of the Dead, so who was Donn?
The ancient Irish divided their year into four seasons punctuated by the festivals of Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasa and Samhain, according to the equinoxes and solstices. Samhain lies between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It was believed that at Samhain, the veil between the mortal world and the Otherworld was very thin, and that the spirits of the ancestors could cross over and walk amongst the living again.
I‘ve never really liked Halloween. I never understood why people got excited about dressing up, or visiting the homes of strangers and demanding ‘Trick or Treat’. I never enjoyed the gaudy decorations, or the references to vampires, witches,… Read More