Halloween in History


Halloween's origins are buried deep in the bowels of forgotten time, when giants walked the earth and that which we call "ancient history" was yet unborn. Halloween began, perhaps, on the day that one of our prehistoric ancestors awoke from a dream in which someone they knew to be dead had spoken to them, back in those days when dreams were thought to be a separate reality and not merely a product of our subconscious.

In the days before the Roman Empire, Europe was one big hotbed of barbarian activity. Ancient man was becoming "civilized" enough to form ever larger groups and forge ever more potent weapons for that most ancient of gratifications: wiping your neighbor out of existence.

Among those groups who were NOT wiped out of existence were the Celts, who dominated Europe thousands of years ago. They had perhaps the most developed religion of the northern tribes, and a strong Priest class known as "Druids" had arisen. (The semi-legendary Merlin, who served that most famous of Celts, King Arthur, was a Druid - but that's another story.)

The Celts worshiped trees, animals, anything that was semi-alive for that matter - but above all they had a strong belief in ghosts, little people, fairies, witches (stemming, one may well imagine, at least in part from the mostly male Druids' dislike for the other, female-oriented religions prominent at that time in Europe), and all sorts of creatures.

These creatures were believed to escape from their own world periodically to wreak havoc on we humans, traveling back and forth between dimensions through the use of "cracks".

A "crack" could be anything from a hole in the ground to a "crack" in time, such as the space between each of the two Celtic seasons: Summer (which began on May 1, hence "May Day"), and Winter (which began on November 1).

The moment just before the onslaught of Winter, with its killing winds, was believed to be the most dangerous in terms of running into malevolent spirits, and thus midnight on October 31 was a time no Celt in their right mind would be caught outside at!