History of Halloween (2)

Church and Samhain

The church, which means in this case the Catholic Church, since every thing happened in pre-protestantic times did a good marketing job after establishing themselves.
Usually they took the feast of the pagans and covered it with a kind of Christian cap.

So the people could stick to their well known festivals, but now they were celebrating it under a Christian sail.
Clever guys those early Popes!

They knew that people wouldn’t have given up their festivals. So a little holy water here and a new name there, and the party went on and on and on …

The church did not only act that way to get people into the arms of the holy mother church, they had to do it, because people wouldn’t stop celebrating their old pagan festivals.

As we have seen before, the old Celts thought the veil between our world and the other world has been quite thin, so it was kind of natural to celebrate a day in honor of the death.

This was common duty for many people.

So by 835 the date for All Saint’s Day or All Hallow’s Day was fixed on November 1st by Pope Gregory IV.
In 998 November 2nd became All Soul’s Day.

The Church day began at sunset, so the celebration of the holiday coincided exactly with the celebration of Samhain.


The name Halloween is an Old English word. First time the word Halloween was used was in the 16th century.
The name means the night (or evening) before All Hallows Day which was November 1st.
The old English word “Hallow” just means “to sanctify”.

I guess you can clearly see the connection with the old feast Samhain and the idea that the dead ancestors would be able to walk on earth again.
Ancestors have been holy to the living. Some believed that the ancestors would protect the living.

Halloween colors

Halloween is connected with the colors of black and orange.
Black represents the darkness of the night.
The world gets darker in late fall and so it is quite obvious why to chose the color black.

In the western world black is also the color of grief.
We dress up in black for a funeral.

Orange is the color of autumn.
The leaves on the tree are losing their green and turn to yellow, red, orange and brown colors.
The bonfires burn with orange light.
And today the pumpkins, we find all around, the nice Jack-o’-Lanterns are all in orange.
Tomorrow: why did they got rid of the turnip?
Part 1



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8 thoughts on “History of Halloween (2)

  1. Pingback: History of Halloween (6) « Helz-Design

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  5. Terrific post, Helen – very interesting about the religious aspect. And yes, those Popes are always thinking! 🙂

    • thank you suerae 🙂
      although i am not a religious person i love the history behind everything
      and in our part of the world usually the church is part of he history, especially when talking about medieval ages,

  6. Very interesting post.. how many things one can learn? everything has a symbolism and very ofthen a spiritual meaning… Thanks Helen! really enjoed this!

    • thanks patricia 🙂
      i also loved the research
      there are so many interesting subjects 🙂
      as i mentioned: christmas.
      i am also going to do a little bit on superstition in november.

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