If you are a regular customer with SMW Home - I'm sure you've chatted with Alyssa! I swear - she is the one keeping everything running smoothly! I thought I'd her share a few tidbits about the origins of Halloween today on the blog. October 31st is practically a city-wide holiday here in San Francisco - a town which never passes up a good reason to get dressed in a costume. Trust me - I run the 7 mile "Bay to Breakers" event several times only to be passed (or pass) folks in all manner of costume!
Take it away Alyssa . . .
Alyssa Here from Team Tartan!
We can’t help but feel festive when Autumn rolls around, the smell of spices mixed with seasonal fruits, the image of raked leaves, and the memories we have of carefree holidays - namely Halloween. While most of us know that Halloween was born out of a Pagan holiday, few know how many commonalities there are between 9th century Samhain and what we celebrate today as “All Hallows’ Eve.” We did a little digging and found that Samhain was born out of the British Isles, namely Scotland and Ireland - naturally, we had to learn more. We invite you to settle into our roundup of five lesser known facts about this autumn harvest holiday.
1. Gaelic Phonetics can be Tricky
If you know anything about Gaelic, you know to throw traditional English pronunciation right out the window. Rather than sam-hane, the Celts pronounce it sah-win or sow-in.
2. The Grandfather to Halloween?
More like distant relatives. Although both holidays share a common theme of celebrating the dead, the overarching tone of these holidays reveal notable differences. Where Halloween has evolved into a publicly celebrated secular folk holiday involving playful themes of costumes, fantasy, and trick-or-treating, Samhain continues to be religious in focus. While some practices include a merry-making, Samhain is an overall serious time to reflect and memorialize the dead in private.
3. Burn Baby Burn, Pagan Inferno!
Everyone has a ritual they love to do. Pagans love to celebrate with fire for Samhain. Spark a flame in the fireplace, cauldron or bonfire outside. Jot down a forever habit you wish to disembark from and throw it into the Samhain flames. Imagine the release and yourself adopting a new, better way of life, as you move clockwise around the fire.
4.No Ouija Board Needed
Samhain is a time when we honor our ancestors. It is the perfect time to celebrate the memory of a lost loved one and perhaps host their spirit. As crops dry up and a chill fills the air, Pagans believe the veil is thin between the living and the dead on the 31st. We might even be privileged enough for them to come back and communicate with us through the veil. Often to offer some advice, guidance, and protection for the coming year.
5. Harvest Decor
Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects Nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies back with killing frosts, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. As temperatures drop and the harvest season comes to a close, celebrants of Samhain believed that the death was literally in the air.The spirit of Samhain’s themes of both death and renewal can be seen in modern autumn decor. As the season changes and leaves fall from their branches, we begin to bring sturdy pumpkins, gourds, acorns, and dried cornstalks into the home. We don autumnal wreaths on our front doors, and we bring warmth to our homes with the glow of seasonal candles.
Thank for all the cool information! I hope you're having a safe - and scary! - Halloween tonight!