Learn about Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day and ghosts...
For many, ghosts and Halloween bring visions of children trick-or-treating for candy near the end of October. Consequently, Halloween ghosts are something that have sparked the imaginations of both the young and old, having originated out of Celtic mingled with Christian teachings.
Where Did Halloween Come From?
European, Celtic traditions celebrated a festival to "Samhain" (pronounced Saw-ween) around what would be November first on the Gregorian (Western) calendar. It was considered to be a special time of year as Autumn would bring the harvesting of crops, bedding down of livestock, and of course, the coming of Winter. But, it was believed by the Celts that people who had passed during the year would be making their way to the world where others who died awaited them; and it was the "Lord of the Dead," known as Samhain, who would lead them there. During their trek, ghosts of the recently departed would be among the living before moving on. Because of this, Celtic people would pay honor to their relatives and ancestors through rituals. However, there was a dark side to this. Because of fear, Druid priests would sacrifice one person, the town fool who was paraded about during the day, up to the Lord of the Dead by burning him alive in a cage at the end of the festivities. When Romans banned the barbaric practice, Druids sacrificed black cats (that did the bidding of witches) the same way, instead.
How Halloween Evolved from Samhain
Christian missionaries believed the Celtic beliefs to be pagan and sought to convert the people to Christianity. To do so, they moved the Christian holiday of All Saints' Day to November 1st, celebrating All Hallow's Eve on the same day (it was the evening celebration). Eventually, the name All Hallow's Eve was shortened to Halloween when coined Hallowe'en (short for Hallow's Even, e.g. Hallow's Evening). Eventually, Halloween was moved to the 31st of October as a predecessor to All Saints' Day on the 1st of November.
Is Halloween a Great Time for Ghosts?
In older traditions, many thought that Halloween is the best time to experience ghosts as the worlds of both the living and the dead were nearly one – the thinnest of veil between spirit and earth. Celebrations and offerings of food and wine to honor ghosts (relatives and ancestors who passed on) were originally Celtic traditions that have evolved and remain alive today for those who celebrate the Day of the Dead.
Other Considerations About Ghosts and Halloween
Perhaps, when Halloween is within three days of a full or new moon, ghosts may be more active due to increases in geomagnetic activity. Could there be a scientific explanation that validates the sightings of ghosts around Halloween time? Take a look at Live Moon Phase Data and read Solar and Lunar Eclipses and Biblical Events for more thoughts on ghosts and moon cycles.