Halloween is the Day we shed our worse fears and embrace death in a celebratory fashion. We give ourselves permission to laugh and dance on graves, in order to appreciate life and experience joy free of fear.
It is loved as much by adults as children. It is all about what or who you will become, what choices you will make. There is no script or plan. Halloween embraces danger as part of life, affirming people’s capacity to deal with it on their own. In our law abiding highly controlled society, halloween encourages everyone to unleash a part of us that loves to laugh, to scream, to be silly, and have fun. It a day anything goes.
The origins of halloween is found in the ancient Celtic festival, Samhain. From present-day Ireland to the United Kingdom to Brittany, France, the ancient Celts marked this as one of their four most important festival quarter days of the year. Samhain commenced on the eve of October 31st, and ushered in the Celtic New Year on November 1st. The Celts experienced this as a threshold time when the normally strict boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead became mutable. On the eve of Samhain, they believed the veil between the two realms was the most transparent, allowing the spirits of those who have died to return to visit earth.
In Mexico it was called the Day of the Dead. The celebrations includes an invitation for the dead to return to their family home for a visit. Families welcome them back by placing photographs of their deceased loved ones on altars, and may even write and dedicate poems to them. Extended families gather in cemeteries on the eve of November 2, and sit at the gravesite of a deceased loved one to hold a feast. The family may keep a night-long vigil by eating the foods they have made in preparation for the celebration, visiting with each other, and praying for all the members of the extended family, both living and dead. They bake bread and make candy in the shape of skull and crossbones, a casket, or a skeleton. The children run through the streets with lanterns and ask for coins.