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
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
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!