Happy Samhain!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Perhaps it was because I was so terribly shy as a child.  Hiding behind a costume was a magical way of interacting with the world. I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with that one. 

As an adult I’m fascinated with the history behind traditions.  Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.  There were 4 seasonal Celtic, pagan holidays and Samhain is the one that celebrates the end of the harvest.  Cattle were brought down from the hills and slaughtered in preparation for winter. Bonfires were lit and it is believed that the veil separating us from the spirit world was so thin that fairies could more easily cross over.  Places were set at tables for ancestors in the belief that their spirits could also visit. People would dress in disguise and go door to door in exchange for food.

We can thank Pope Gregory III for Halloween as we know it.  It was he, who in the 8th century designated Nov. 1st as All Saints Day. October 31st therefore became All Hallows’ Eve and eventually Halloween.  It’s funny how many dates for Christian holidays were borrowed from Pagan traditions. That’s one for another blog.

Now if you are in the mood to celebrate Halloween there are lots of activities in the area that extend through the weekend.  Check out the list at Bucks County Alive at: http://buckscountyalive.com/events/showevents.cfm?halloween=yes&dayspan=50&webname=bcalive&overridetown=TRUE

Happy Samhain!

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