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Article: Here is the Real Meaning of Halloween (& How to Embrace It)

Here is the Real Meaning of Halloween (& How to Embrace It)

Here is the Real Meaning of Halloween (& How to Embrace It)

October 31st is right around the corner. Your movie queue is filled with Hocus Pocus and Addam’s Family. Yup, Halloween 2020 is just about here!

With this ghoul-fest almost upon us, are you busy putting on your black hat and prepping your best witch costume? Amidst each year’s trick-or-treating, candy overload, and haunted house visits, have you ever wondered why we actually celebrate Halloween? More importantly, how and why did it take its present-day form?

This year’s overall slowdown has brought with it an abundance of downtime. So, how about together we ponder over the real meaning of Halloween?

If you said yes, grab your broomstick, and let’s get witching!

What Exactly is the Real Meaning of Halloween?

Halloween, as we know it today, is an ultra-commercialized version of what was once a Celtic pagan spiritual festival called Samhain, and primarily based on seasonal shifts. In truth, Samhain holds a rich spiritual significance, which somehow got lost over centuries.

Samhain & Celtic Spiritual Traditions

Nearly 2,000 years ago, in the pre-Christianity era, Celtics occupied most of Northern Ireland and France. These Welsh-speaking pagans marked the end of summer, their harvest season, with a celebration. It was referred to as Samhain (or “Sow-in”).

Samhain heralded the beginning of winter and longer nights. At this time, Celtics believed that the veil between our human physical world and invisible dimensions was thin. This meant that spirits of nature and our deceased ancestors had easy access to our lives.

To honor deceased ancestors and spirits, they offered freshly prepared cakes and food from their harvest bounty each year on October 31st and November 1st.


Samhain was also when the community participated in bonfires, celebrated the abundance of harvest, and expressed gratitude to the ever-giving Gaia. Druids (Celtic priests) helped build and initiate these protective and cleansing bonfires.

Trick-or-Treating & Costumes

Wearing costumes that resembled the creatures of the dead and going door to door was a way for Celtics to evade misfortune and evil spirits. This ancient form of playing pranks has taken shape as today’s trick-or-treating.


Lanterns were originally carved out from turnips. It was not until the Middle Ages that pumpkin lanterns really took off in Ireland. Lanterns represented supernatural beings for the Celtics. To this day, this concept ties in well with Samhain and the meaning behind it.

The Commercialization of Halloween

The mass Irish migration to the Western world during the early 1900s resulted in many of their practices being welcomed by American early settlers. Over centuries, pagan traditions were either entirely forgotten or diluted out.

One such case is Halloween.

Today commercialization of festivals has become a norm in our capitalistic economy. Current day Halloween is all about candy overload, single-use plastic costumes, Halloween décor, and so much more!

It needn’t be this way. 2020 has brought with it an opportunity to revamp the regular status quo of these festivals.

Reviving the Celtic Meaning of Halloween in 2020

2020 has been hard in numerous ways, and we get it! In fact, if you’re asking, “How is this year not even over yet?” we’re with you.

This Halloween might not look anything like your typical witching day, as we continue to be in the middle of a global pandemic and a second wave where stricter guidelines will need to be adhered to.

While this is disappointing for many, perhaps it’s a change we can embrace with open arms.

This year, more than ever before (thanks to mental health awareness during this pandemic), there seems to be a global shift towards increased spiritual practices. Mindfulness and meditation, as an example, have skyrocketed in use since the beginning of the pandemic.

As each season of 2020 rolls in, we as a human race, in many ways, are reverting back to ancient practices. Many are making conscious efforts to wake up to the wisdom within.

Even as we continue to pause and look within, This year presents an excellent opportunity to ask, “what does Halloween actually celebrate” and add new meaning to an otherwise heavily commercialized pumpkin fest.

How to Halloween The Celtic Way in 2020

We aren’t saying quit Halloween entirely this year! But if for any reason you choose to rethink the meaning of Halloween this year, here are four ways to do so:

1. Carve Out Pumpkins

Pandemic or not, here come Jack-O-Lanterns for the win!

Tell us one person, young or adult, who doesn’t think pumpkin carving is fun? It’s a great way to bond with the family and still be safe. Keep in mind the history of pumpkins and Celtic tradition while engaging in this fall family activity.

Why not try out a pumpkin-inspired recipe as well? Check out: How to Make Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Halloween Peppers

2. Try Celtic Storytelling

A storytelling night as the family gathers around the fireplace with hot chocolate…. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

What better way to revive long lost traditions about a bygone era? (where people were deeply connected to nature and earth). Educate your tiny tots or friends about the pre-Christianity era through storytelling. See if they are interested to learn more!

3. Learn About Your Roots & Harvest Traditions

Every tradition holds a celebration around harvest season. There are unique practices to each culture that are enriching to learn. While it is true that the origin of Halloween is from the Celtics, researching your roots and family traditions at this time can be truly soul-warming.

4. Write A Letter to Your Ancestors

The Celtics honored their ancestors in a truly unique way at Halloween (Or, Samhain). You, too, can do the same in a way that speaks uniquely to you. The holidays are all about tradition. Even better is if you can create new meaningful ones that resonate with you.

Imagine for a second if the veil between worlds really dropped (just like in the movies). What is one thing you would want to say to your passed-on ancestors?

This Halloween, write a letter to your grand or great-grandparents acknowledging their blessings (and generational behavioral patterns). This is also an amazing healing tool for working with intergenerational family thought patterns.

How Will You Celebrate Halloween?

Let us remind ourselves this fall that holidays hold within them an opportunity to reconnect to the past.

In looking within, we are able to understand the real meaning of Halloween and other popular festivals. Doing so allows us to sync up with the messages and soulful rhythms that the universe is constantly sending our way.

Don’t forget to read 5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween to learn how you can do Halloween differently this year!

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