Symbols of Samhain and Halloween – fire, the dead, lanterns, harvest

Crossing the Veil: The Pre-Christian Origins of Halloween and Samhain

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For Halloween, pumpkins are hollowed out, and spooky faces are carved into them, creating Jack-o'-lanterns. Candles are then lit inside the pumpkins, creating eerie lanterns, and serving as signals that a household observes Halloween. Pumpkins are frequently used today as they’re easier to carve and a symbol of harvest, but the original lanterns in Ireland and Scotland were carved from turnips. These turnip lanterns were used to frighten off evil spirits by guisers, and were a motif of the Irish Christian folk tale of Jack, a wandering soul, who was denied entry into both heaven and hell.

A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o'-lantern

A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o'-lantern from the early 20th century. ( Creative Commons )

Observing Halloween is not without controversy. Some religions discourage participation, suggesting that it trivializes Samhain, it has satanic associations, or it is inappropriate tribute to paganism or the occult. However, the modern practices heavily influenced by commercialization and popular culture differ appreciably from the ancient traditions of Samhain and All Hallows’ Eve. Still, the connection exists and the history is clear - when you light a Jack-o'-lantern and brighten the darkening season, you’re carrying on an age-old tradition that bridges cultures around the world and reaffirms our connection to our departed loved ones.

The History of Halloween. Source: halloweenexpress

Featured image: Symbols of Samhain and Halloween – fire, the dead, lanterns, harvest ( Image Source )

By Liz Leafloor    


Halloween - Wikipedia

Samhain - Wikipedia

The History of Halloween or Samhain - About


Steve Byrd's picture

Some of you folks on here are taking this occult buisness about these holidays way to serious.. Valebtines day an occult holiday? Get real guys. Get your head out of the sand.Didn’t any of you do these things as kids? We celebrated Halloween, Valehtines day and other holidays like that in elementary school. No one ever even heard of this stuff being talked about before. I think it really takes some sick individuals to deprive small kids of fun. Like the article explains Western civilization changed the wat all this stuff was celebrated before.

angieblackmon's picture

Anymore you find a lot more super heros and disney princesses than you do Witches, Zombies, Vampires, etc. I was apart of that as a child, I went as Snow White, a Butterfly and a rockstar but I also spent like 4 years in a row going as a witch. I wish there would be a return to more traditional type costumes, but like everything else in America, it's just another commericalize holiday....also, sadly enough about 2 weeks before Halloween even takes place, they have already rolled out the Christmas decorations in the stores...also, no one ever asked me to do a trick. LOL. When I was young it was always a contest to see who could get the most candy. When my little one is old enough I plan on teaching her the real story behind this holiday. I think it's important to know. I hope she'll appreciate it.

love, light and blessings


DeAegean's picture

Is a turnip more of a challenge to carve? Trying to figure out the size of the example turnip picture if anyone would know an estimate.

Another, more recent controversy regarding the celebration of Halloween comes from the political Left in the U.S., which views Halloween, erroneously, as a Christian celebration, and therefore it must be purged from public life in the name of "diversity"

No you are completely wrong about it being from the Left, it is only fundamentalist Christians who believe that and they are most definitely ultra-right. Nice try at making things up to make the Left look bad, but you end up looing like an idiot for not knowing it is the Christian RIGHT who has done this in America. 


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