To witches and pagans everywhere, blessings, this Samhain.
Many fundamentalist Christian groups stand against the celebration of Halloween because they feel it is associated with demons and Satan. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of their ‘facts’ are incorrect.
…to Pagans who celebrate Samhain, it is the third and last of the year’s harvest festivals. The crops are in, and it’s time to relax and prepare for the long winter ahead. Samhain is a time to reflect on the events of the past year, and to remember those who have passed away. It’s at this time of the year that spirits travel from this world to the next. Both good and evil spirits. Part of the mythology of the holiday is that the God dies at Samhain, and the Goddess mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. It is Her mourning that brings about the shorter, cold days of winter. After His birth at Yule, the days begin to get longer again.
Many of the symbols and traditions that we see around Halloween today can be traced to earlier times. Carving of jack-o-lanterns probably started with turnips rather than pumpkins, but the idea is the same either way. With the spirits of the dead travelling on this day, people would carve faces into turnips (or gourds or whatever) in order to scare away any evil spirits. The dressing up in costumes was also done to scare off bad spirits.
The idea of playing tricks was not done maliciously, but just as a way of having a bit of fun before the long dark winter settled in. The original gathering of treats was done to provide offerings to the Gods, in thanks for the harvest.
Personally, I leave a candle lit in the window along with a food offering for the spirits that might pass my way.
One last word. Many fundamentalist Christian groups have a strong negative bias towards any religion that is different from their own. Please keep this in mind when reading their websites for more ‘truth’ about Halloween.