Halloween Traditions

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Ghosts, witches, pumpkins, candy and spiderwebs announce that it’s time for Halloween.

Practicing Pagans, real Witches, and those who follow traditions that predate Christianity honor a deeper spiritual meaning that underlies this holiday. In these traditions it’s their time to celebrate the New Year (Samhain, pronounced sow-in), by honoring the process of death and regeneration.

In Northern Europe, Samhain was the time of thanksgiving to celebrate the end of harvest and move animals to winter shelters. It was believed the ancestors and the spirits of the dead would return home to share in the feast. The dead were remembered and welcomed into the community to share the feast (represented by pumpkins and candy today) where candles were set out for them to find their way home.

Death and regeneration are linked in pre-Christian beliefs.  Birth, death, rebirth are repeatedly evidenced as an essential part of nature and human lives. At Samhain children symbolize the rebirth of the ancestors. Hence, we give them candy which represents the feast. Death is not to be feared, but a natural process of life and birth into a new form. This is a good time to celebrate and tell stories about those who have crossed over in order to keep their memory alive.

Some people confuse the Latino Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead with Halloween. The Day of the Dead is actually on November 1 and is a joyful celebration with feasts, stories, altars and prayers to those who have crossed over. Skulls and skeletons are usually brightly painted and may be decorated with flowers in joyful celebration.

The energy during this time when the souls are passing between the worlds offer a time for deep spiritual work. For those who pay attention to the energy at this time of year the veil seems thin between the worlds and the mysteries are more accessible.

Be empowered to joyfully open your heart and celebrate those who have passed to the next realm. As you give out treats quietly bless each person who receives them and honor the ancestor who has come before them.