Samhain - The Origins of Halloween

Halloween in Ireland

Samhain in Ireland marks the end of the brighter half of the year, known as Beltane, and the beginning of the darker half of the year on the Celtic new year calendar. After Halloween celebrations, ancient Irish people celebrated a feast for the dead-Samhain, which is pronounced sow-en, usually translated to mean summers end. Halloween evolved out of ancient Samhain festivities in Ireland, where changes of season and the dead were celebrated. Marking the end of summers harvest and beginning of winter, the festival of Samhain is held every year. 

In the ancient Celtic world of Ireland, the pagan festival of Samhain was the end of summer and the beginning of winter, a time of long, cold nights, and a portent for death to many. Halloween in Ireland is an adaptation of a far, far older tradition called Samhain, a pagan festival held deep into mid-winter in Celtic Ireland, a time when the land was barren and sleepy. In Celtic Ireland, around 2000 years ago, Samhain was a split of the year into a lighter half (summer) and a darker half (winter). Irish archaeologist Daniel Curley says it was in Rat Croagh here more than 2000 years ago, when paganism was the dominant religion for the Celtic people who made up most of Ireland, that Samhain was born.

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