Origins of Halloween

Halloween is about two weeks away. With the prep work that the staff is putting into the Stettler Public Library’s Halloween celebration, I got to thinking about the origins of Halloween.

Halloween is about two weeks away. With the prep work that the staff is putting into the Stettler Public Library’s Halloween celebration, I got to thinking about the origins of Halloween.

Using the databases at our disposal, I decided to do a little research using the Canadian Reference Centre database. It was amazing the information that I found on Halloween’s beginnings.

The origins of Halloween can be traced back 2000 years to the Celts who lived in Ireland, the United Kingdom and France at the time. The Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain on the first of November. It was on this day that they celebrated the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the long months of winter ahead.

It was believed that on the evening of the night before Samhien, Oct. 31, ghosts made their presence known on earth. These ghosts were considered responsible for wreaking havoc in the natural world and destroying the crops. Even with the mischief that the ghosts could cause, the Celts trusted that the ghosts served a larger purpose.

The existence of the ghosts on that night allowed the Druids, the Celtic priests, to make accurate predictions of the future. These predictions gave the Celts a sense of protection and comfort in the upcoming months. The Druids organized bonfires where the community, dressed in costumes made from animal heads and skins, would gather to honour the Celtic gods and pray for protection during the winter.

Following the introduction of Christianity to the Celtic regions, Pope Boniface IV replaced Samhain with All Saints’ Day to honour saints and religious martyrs. It was also called All Hallows Day and the evening before All Hallows Eve, which became Halloween.

The Stettler Public Library will celebrate Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 31. Join us for a special Storytime, a Poetry Slam, Fear Factor Feed Off and another special event or two. Watch this column for futher details.

Don forget to stop by the Library on Wednesday, Oct. 14 for a piece of cake to celebrate Parkland Regional Library’s 50th birthday and Canadian Library Month.

To further celebrate Canadian Library Month, we are offering Food for Fines from Oct. 17 to Oct. 31. For each non-perishable food item, one dollar will be waived from your fines.

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