walking through the portal

bonfireWe are approaching the time of year when the weather is getting cooler and crisper, the sun rises later and sets earlier, and you can feel a shift of energy in the air. Between October 31st and November 2nd are the recognized holidays of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. These Christian observances have their roots in Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween), and Dia de los Muertos, the day of the dead.

The Encyclopedia of Religion states that “the British church attempted to divert the interest in pagan customs by adding a Christian celebration to the calendar on the same date as Samhain, the ancient Celtic name for the festival that eventually would be renamed Halloween.”

Similarly, 500 years ago the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries moved the Mesoamerican festival of Dia de los Muertos from the July/August harvest time to coincide with the Catholic All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd as a day to honor the dead. All Saints’ Day was originally known by the middle English word Alholowmesse. Over time this was shortened to All-hallowmas and the night before was known as All-hallows eve which eventually became Hallowe’en or Halloween.

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