The Meaning of Halloween

| 10/29/2012 10:28:00 AM

 Halloween Trick or Treater 

Witches celebrate eight festivals each year, known as sabbats, which coincide with the changes in the seasons. The solstices (December 21 and June 21) mark the days when winter and summer, respectively, begin. The spring and fall equinoxes (March 21 and September 23) mark the two days of the year when the hours of the day are equally divided between day and night. These four days were very important to ancient agricultural societies and were occasions for great celebrations.

The four other sabbats are known as cross-quarter days and represent festivals that were important to herding societies: Candlemas on February 2; Beltane on May 1; Lughnasad on August 1; and Samhain, or Halloween, on October 31. Of the four cross-quarter days, Halloween is probably best known by nonpagans. In herding societies, Halloween marks the new year. It signifies the time of year when herdsmen thinned out their livestock for the winter, killing for their meat those animals that looked as if they wouldn’t survive the colder weather. Thus, Halloween is the Witch’s new year.

Halloween also marks the late harvest—the time of year when vegetation dies off and days grow shorter and darker.

“Halloween is the time when we are going into the dark,” says Antiga, a Minneapolis Witch, “and one thing about Witchcraft is that darkness is not necessarily associated with evil. The seed lies in darkness under the earth and is quiet all winter before it comes to life in the spring. In societies not as industrial as ours, people rested during the dark. It’s a whole different energy in the winter than in the summer.

“According to pagan legend, Halloween is also the time when the veil between the two worlds, the world of the dead and the living, is thought to be the thinnest. The reason people dressed up on Halloween was that they thought the spirits were all around them, and they were afraid the spirits might take them along with them. The people dressed up as spirits so the [visiting] spirits would think they too were spirits and wouldn’t take them to the world of the dead.”

joseph murray
10/31/2012 9:16:53 PM

Just love the old ways, Whos connection with the life forces of our planet (our)where justice prevailed to those that followed a simple life full of life at a pace which when slow gos Fast.....just let go and feel it !nature at a moment of change...Oh dont forget to talk to the spirites they like that!...yes get crazy..AL-La-Ka--zam...ho-hep-pa (Fly true young one)

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me