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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spooks, Spirits and Spectres!

Halloween (October 31st) is almost here!

The origins of this infamous holiday comes from Celtic times and was one of the most feared days in the calendar year.

People celebrated Samhain (Summers' End), an exuberant harvest festival that signified the death of the old year and the beginning of a new one.

Come evening, the eve of Samhain, spirits and other otherworldly beings ventured into the human realm. The ancient Celts also believed spells and charms were more powerful if invoked on this evening.

But with the coming of Christianity, the pagan festival was given a new name and meaning by the church - All Hallows' Eve - which was eventually shortened to Halloween.

Other countries came up with similar names and days, such as Hallowtide, Mallowmas, All Saints' Eve, and All Souls' Eve, and now most know and celebrate the day as Halloween.

Today activities commonly undertaken on Halloween include dressing up in weird and wonderful costumes while trick or treating, carving jack-o-lanterns and playing pranks.

Others like to tell scary tales, light bonfires, and visit haunted places. Some (wiccans, pagans and druids) even continue the old Celtic traditions of Samhain.

All great fun!

So, to those of you celebrating Halloween - have fun and stay safe!

Source of some of the factual information used in this blog post: http://www.familymanagement.com/holidays/halloween/origins.html

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