Halloween is not just for kids. This fun-filled holiday has deep, meaningful roots that we can all learn from. This holiday, celebrate the history of Halloween with these Mindful lessons.
We tend to think of Halloween as an American holiday filled with costumes and sugary treats, but it has ancient Celtic roots. Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts celebrated Samhain in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France. This pre-Christian harvest festival was celebrated at the end of summer from sunset on October 31st to sunrise on November 1st. For the Celts, this was their New Year’s Eve. Their holiday was less fun and games than the modern interpretation; it was extremely significant for the well-being of the community.
Want to learn more? Check out the four tips listed below.
- A time to honor the dead. Today, ghosts and ghouls are thought to be simple, spooky Halloween fun, but for the Celts, visiting phantom spirits were real. The Celts believed that this was the one day a year that the boundary between the living and the dead disappeared, and they used this day to honor their dead. This year, you can do the same. Honor a deceased loved one by saying a special prayer for them Halloween morning or by taking a moment to reminisce with an old photo album. You can even bake their favorite sweet treat and hand them out on Halloween in their honor.
- A time to feast. Since the Samhain celebrated the harvest, the community would come together, light a bonfire, and host big feasts that included fresh baked bread and Colcannon, a mashed potato dish made with cabbage, ham, and scallions. Today, communities still come together for Halloween, but instead of partaking in healthy meals most people spend a great portion of the day eating candy or drinking alcohol. This year, consider hosting a delicious Halloween lunch or dinner. Your meal can include delicious, healthy recipes such as cashew cheese on kale chips and baked apples and ice cream, instead of candy. Food is a great way to bring people together and it’s a great counterpart to all the sugar and calories associated with Halloween.
- A time to look toward the future. For the Celts, Samhain was a time to contemplate the future. They believed the visits from phantom spirits helped the Druid priests to predict the future. Let this Druid history inspire you, too. This Halloween, between the parties and trick-or-treating, have a moment of reflection. Have you achieved your goals for this year? If not, make the most of the remanding months.
- A time to hold loved ones closer. Samhain was also a time in which the Celts came together as family units. At the end of the festival, the Celts would return to their homes and light their fireplaces using the fire from the sacred bonfire. It was believed that the sacred fire would protect their homes and their loved ones during the harsh winter months. This Halloween, end your nightly celebrations with a little family time. Play a game or watch a fun movie together. This is the time to hold your family tight.