It’s the classic modern tale: that Halloween has devilish origins, that Satan himself inspired the times, that witches created trick or treat etc.
The fact is that none of these fables are true. Not even close.
Halloween’s great and long history traces its roots back 2000 years to an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain.
5 Facts About Samhain History
1- Samhain was an Annual Harvest Festival
Considered one of the four major Celtic seasonal festivals, next to Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh, Samhain was celebrated from sundown on October 31 through November 1 and focused on the Celts harvesting their crops. It, apparently, was a glorious celebration that lasts for years.
The name also gave way to its meaning, with Samhain being translated as “summer’s end”. Perfectly fitting the time of year it was celebrated.
2- The Spiritual Side was Evident
In some cases, torment the humans. To stop the ghosts from haunting us, the Celtic priests built huge bonfires, practiced divination rituals, conducted rites, and even considered slaughtering animals to warn away spirits – which sounds very Halloween-y if you ask us.
3- It was Transformed into a Christian Holiday
With the growing popularity and conversion of Christians, Pope Gregory III moved the annual festival of Lemuria – the day of the dead, later known as All Saints’ Day – to November 1: right around the time Samhain took place.
Over time, All Saints’ Day was dubbed All Hallows’ Eve, which slowly shortened to Halloween! As you can see, there were no demonic origins to the story. In fact, it was the polar opposite!
4- Pop Culture is Littered with References to Samhain
You might not have noticed it, but pop culture has plenty of references to the origins of Halloween. The Halloween movie series, Parts 2 and 3, refers to Samhain multiple times in a bid to build scares and thrills.
There are also references to it in cartoon TV series Ugly Americans, and the punk band the Misfits, whose leader was Glenn Danzig. Post-band, he created another rock group called Samhain.
If you keep an eye out on it, you’ll probably find thousands of more references to the ancient ceremony of Halloween.
5 – It’s Still Celebrated Today!
Yes, that’s right: Samhain is still celebrated in modern terms. Despite the popularity of Halloween – and its fusion in culture – the old remnants still survive.
Many modern-day neo-pagans have created their own version of the holiday so that its powerful and holistic origins are recognized for what they were.
Groups including Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans and Wiccans have added a modern twist to the celebrations, ranging from historic recreations of the Celts’ celebrations to rites and rituals that work in modern days.