Saturday, 18 January 2014

Origins of Hallowe'en

So I've started stitching my first Hallowe'en ornie of the year and I was thinking about Hallowe'en and how it all started.

Like many of our modern festivals Hallowe'en has become more secular after years of being a Christian celebration built upon a Pagan festival.  Other examples include Easter and Christmas.

Plum Street Samplers

The Celts celebrated the feast of Samhain (the name comes from the Old Irish for Summer's End) as the first and most important of the four quarter days in the Medieval Gaelic calendar.  The other three being Imbolc (1st February), Beltaine (1st May) and Lughnasa (1st August).  Samhain marked the end of the Harvest Season and the start of the darker days of Winter.  It was seen as a time of year when spirits and the fae could cross the borders into our world more easily usual.

Gryphon's Moon

When the Celtic countries became Christian the Church realised that converting the old Pagan festivals into religious days was the best way to get the peasants and common folk to change their ways.  After all, you can't go dancing naked round the hill-tops if you are praying in church all day!

Janet Morningstar

For Christians, 1st November is All Hallows' Day or All Saints' Day which makes 31st October All Hallows' Eve.  Hallows' Eve being shortened to Hallowe'en with e'en meaning "evening".

Waxing Moon Designs

So many of the modern customs have their roots in traditions started by the Celts or the Christians and molded, changed and adapted across the years.  I wonder if the early Pagans or first European Christians would recognise our current celebrations?

If you'd like to read more about the origins of Hallowe'en I started at this Wiki page and wandered around from there!

I thought it would be fun to look at different aspects of Hallowe'en each month to tie in with our themes too.

nb All images in the post can be clicked to a stockist's page.  These are designs I chose to illustrate the topic and to do a little enabling, they are not designs I have stitched myself (yet!)


AnaCristina said...

I enjoy to read about the Celts.

Southpaw Stitcher said...

Interesting history of Hallowe'en, and I love the PSS ornie, too!

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the interesting information Jo!

Lili said...

Great idea to talk about Halloween!!

Tiffany said...

Love the writing you did for this and the cross stitch design.

Stitching Noni said...

Great idea to have some info about Halloween each month.. I find the history / origin of such events fascinating.
Love your first finish :)

Marcy said...

Thanks for these fun facts. This kind of stuff is so interesting.