Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's Myths--Halloween

Oooh! Scaarrryyy!

Halloween usually invokes images of ghosts, goblins, and vampires. Oh my! But did you know that this part of the year has a deep history that has very little (or nothing) to do with our little cuties dressing up as ballerinas or superheroes?

The word halloween itself derives from the day before a Catholic holiday, hallowmas where the inducted saints of the past year were honored. So, halloween was originally hallow eve. However, the early Christian church created this holiday in order to appease new converts who still wanted to celebrate something during their previously hallowed Samhain.

Samhain was (and for many people, still is) the celtic celebration of Summer's End. It is the transition from light to darkness when the boundaries between the spirit world and the world of the living is rather skewed. Traditions arose of leaving food out for your dead ancestors and lighting a candle in your window to guide them home. You may be familiar with the hispanic celebration of El Dia de los Muertos, the day of the dead, which is a similar celebration where the dead are honored.

Many traditions that we have during Halloween today originated with Samhain. Bobbing for apples (called dookin' for apples) once reflected the journey across the sea to find the magic apple in the land of Emhain Abhlach in Ireland and Avalon in Britain. And disguising oneself to avoid pranks from the wee folk who came out to play during this time was a tradition during the celtic festival.

I know that this isn't technically a mythological creature, but I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit about this holiday. I hope you enjoyed it!

~Emily White


  1. Yay for people who look forward to Monday's Myths! :)

    Yeah, I'm a lover of the show, Supernatural and they had done something on this last season, so I looked it up. I really enjoy researching all this stuff. And now when you dunk for apples, you know you're really looking for Avalon! ;)

  2. Lydia,

    I just picked up my award! Thank you so much! And you better like Monday's Myths *shakes fist*! :P


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