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by Dr Leo Ruickbie

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Hallowe'en / Halloween

What is Hallowe'en (Halloween)? Witchology.com explains the history, traditions and superstitions, from the origins of Hallowe'en in the Celtic Samhain to the traditional spells of Hallowe'en:

Hallowe'en / Halloween

Known as Hallowe'en (UK spelling), Halloween (US spelling), or Samhain, the 31st of October is a traditional Pagan holy day and Witches' Sabbath. Explore the following links to find out more about this magical time of year.
Hallowe'en Contents

Hallowe'en Interview

Kate Whiting talks to a witchcraft expert to find out more about the original pagan festival and how you can recreate a more traditional Halloween.
Hallowe'en Interview

Origins of Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en, All Hallows, or All Hallows' Eve, this is an ancient Pagan holy day, corrupted by Christians. Find out how they did it and why.
Origins of Hallowe'en

What is Samhain?

Samhain is the Celtic New Year. It means "Summer's End". Traditions differ, but it is usually pronounced...
What is Samhain

Hallowe'en Spells

Hallowe'en is undoubtedly the most magical time of the year in many people's minds, but do you know what special, seasonal spells are traditionally cast? This time of year requires a certain sort of magic.
Hallowe'en Spells and Magic

A Wiccan Hallowe'en

"Eko, eko, Azarak... Dread Lord of the Shadows..." How do Wiccans celebrate Hallowe'en? Do they even call it Hallowe'en?
A Wiccan Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en Misinformation

Samhain is not the Celtic God of Death. Hallowe'en is not a festival of evil. These and other common misunderstandings explained, and misinformation refuted.
Hallowe'en Misinformation

Hallowe'en Traditions

What are the origins of "Trick or Treat"? Dressing up, love oracles, pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns and footsteps of the dead... Find out more about the old folk traditions of Hallowe'en.
Hallowe'en Traditions

Hallowe'en Near You

Want to go to a Hallowe'en party or a Samhain ritual? The Witchology event guide brings together the spookiest destinations across the world. Find out where the nearest magical Hallowe'en event to you is with one click here.
Hallowe'en Events Guide

Hallowe'en on the Internet

What are the hot search trends this Hallowe'en (Halloween)? Read our report to find out who's typing what into Google for 31 October.
Hallowe'en on the Internet

Hallowe'en Gift Ideas

It's Hallowe'en and I don't have a thing to wear? Need some seasonal gift ideas? You won't find these unique designs in the shops.
Hallowe'en Gifts

Hallowe'en in Your Inbox

Don't have time to read all of this now? Want a copy to read later? Add your email to our mailing list and we'll send you this page and all the Hallowe'en (Halloween) information on the Witchology.com website.

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Free Hallowe'en Downloads

History of Hallowe'en
Find out about the history and meaning of Hallowe'en (Halloween) and Samhain. Based on a Press Association interview with Dr Leo Ruickbie in 2008.
Download pdf (540kb)

Hallowe'en / Halloween Spells
Hallowe'en is traditionally a time of spells and magic. Learn more about these old seasonal charms and modern Wiccan spellcraft for Samhain.
Download gif (352kb)
Download pdf (461kb)
More free downloads

Books for Hallowe'en:

History of Witchcraft BookOpen Source WiccaHistories of the Barbarians
Beowulf

Witchcraft to Go:


Goddess T-Shirt

Click here for more designs

Halloween and Samhain at Witchology Hallowe'en / Halloween / Samhain

Known as Hallowe'en (UK spelling), Halloween (US spelling), or Samhain, the 31st of October is a traditional Pagan holy day and Witches' Sabbath. Explore the following links to find out more about this magical time of year.

The Origins of Hallowe'en

Where did Hallowe'en (Halloween) come from?

Introduction

All Hallows' Eve is the evening before the Christian festival of All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows. The word hallows is from Old English halig, a holy man. It was originally held on the 1st of May, but in 834 the Christian church moved it to the 1st of November. It is held to celebrate Pope Boniface IV's desecration of the Pantheon at Rome in 610. The Pantheon was originally a Pagan temple dedicated to all the gods of the Romans.

The Celtic New Year

The Celts counted their days from sundown to sundown and hence what we call the 'eve,' i.e. the time before, of this festival was the beginning of it. For the Celtic peoples of Europe this was the time of Summer's End, akin to our modern New Year's Eve. It was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest, a time for honouring the departed and seeing into the future.

"Old Hallowe'en"

Old Hallowe'en, or Hallowe'en Old Style (usually abbreviated O.S.), is the day on which the sun reaches 15 degrees Scorpio and is the old Scottish Quarter Day of 11th November, since Christianised as Martinmas Day. It is a significant astrological date, sometimes described as a "power point" and symbolised by the eagle.

Other Cultures

Many other cultures celebrate this time as a festival of the dead from ancient Egypt to pre-conquest Mexico.

Christian Beliefs

In an ingenious perversion of the truth Christians have persuaded themselves that witches held their sabbats around the time of the high Christian festivals in evil mockery of their faith. In actual fact the Christian church strategically planted its arbitrary festivals on Pagan holy days to subvert them.

Hallowe'en Today

Today Halowe'en enjoys widespread popularity. In the British Isles it has always been commemorated with fun and games, and since large scale Irish emigration to the USA in the 1840's has developed strong roots in modern American culture too. Now one sees its popularity gaining ground in the previously staunch Catholic countries of France and Germany. And yet every year, guaranteed, some misguided Christian, somewhere, will be campaigning to ban it.

Hallowe'en in Modern Witchcraft

Originally celebrated as November Eve by Wicca, Samhain, as it now more commonly known, is widely celebrated as the principle festival of Witchcraft, the Grand Sabbat. In the Alexandrian tradition it is said that "Samhain is the time when doors of the Underworld are open for the Witches, and they can communicate with the dead and those ancestors to whom they look for guidance" (Alex Sanders, The Alex Sanders Lectures. Magickal Childe, 1984).

Further Reading

More Hallowe'en from Witchology.com

Hallowe'en (Halloween) in Your Inbox

Don't have time to read all of this now? Want a copy to read later? Add your email to our mailing list and we'll send you this page and all the Hallowe'en (Halloween) information on the Witchology.com website.

Find out more about our mailing list

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