Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Celtic History of Halloween

I stumbled upon some interesting scholarly articles about Halloween's origins. Our modern holiday draws from ancient Celtic traditions surrounding their Samhain festival mixed with some reactions to early Christian attempts to supplant the holiday with All Hallows. I'm a great fan of ancient Celtic history, so I thought I'd share the articles here:

"Halloween Customs in the Celtic World"
by Bettina Arnold, Co-Director, Center for Celtic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
(see a photo of a traditional carved turnip jack-o-lantern in the Museum of Country Life, Ireland)

"Samhain: How Ritual Formed and Formation of Irish Celtic Identity"
by Jessica Richard in the Proceedings of The National Conference on Undergraduate Research
(The introduction is on the above link to, but you can download the 5-page pdf of the article. )

"The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows"
by Jack Santino on the Library of Congress American Folklife Center website

Unfortunately, the details of historic Celtic traditions are foggy. Iron Age Druids insisted that history be passed along orally (no writing down anything). That said, this book A Brief History of the Druids Peter Berresford Ellis is a good read for ancient Celtic beliefs.

1 comment:

Sam Wise said...

like the picture and the figures !