Dark origins of Halloween – including throwing animal bones on fire pits

Dark origins of Halloween – including throwing animal bones on fire pits

Happy Halloween!

For you October 31 may be a day for eating sweets, dressing up or going trick-or-treating, but the history of the day is actually darker than you might think

October 31, the day before All Hallows’ Day, is celebrated across the world.

Every year children and adults dress up in scary costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend Halloween parties, eat sweets and watch horror films.

It’s a joyous day for many, as it gives adults and children a chance to dress up as someone else, but do you actually know the origins of Halloween.

It may not come as a surprise to you that the origins of Halloween are pretty spooky – but we suspect you may be surprised by exactly how dark it is.

Halloween is one of the oldest traditions of the world, and is rooted in Celtic tradition. That means it’s more than 2,000 years old.

It was originally called Samhain, which translates to "summer’s end" in Gaelic.

Summer ending, and the beginning of the dark, cold winter months was often associated with death.

It was believed that this is a time for communicating with otherworldly spirits, because according to Celtic mythology, the veil between the world of the dead and living thins during Samhain.

During this time they believed the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth.

In order to honour the spirits and not provoke them, the Celts would light huge bonfires and make offerings of food.

These festivals would often involve throwing the bones of slaughtered livestock on the bonfire.

Not everyone wanted to be reunited with the spirits, so they would use ashes from the bonfire to blend in with the ghosts.

Villagers would also wear costumes of animal heads and skins for the same reason.

This is where the tradition of using disguises at Halloween originated, and is incidentally where the name bonfire came from – disposing of the bones in “bone fires”.

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Another tradition which has its roots in old tradition is the Jack-o-lantern, which was traditionally carried by children in disguise on All Hallows’ Eve in order to frighten spirits.

According to a popular Irish Christian folktale, the Jack-o-lantern represents a sole who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.

Most modern-day Halloween celebrations comes has a macabre and dark origin. Happy Halloween!

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