5 Fun Facts (x2!) about Halloween & Samhain
Celebrate October 31st! There’s plenty of reason to revel on the festive date. Keep reading to learn more about Halloween and Samhain and ways you can commemorate the date.
The holidays of Samhain and Halloween are celebrated all around the world. Both are rich in history, lore, and traditions.
These days, they're also an excellent occasion for fun!
So, we thought it'd be cool to share some interesting tidbits about each holiday and then give you some ideas on how to observe them. Let's get to it like a kid fishing out the "good stuff" from a sack of candy.
Samhain (Pagan/Wiccan Holiday)
Let’s start with Samhain as it predates Halloween. And you probably know less about it.
#1 Samhain isn’t pronounced like you think it is.
In fact, you say the word Samhain like “SOW-in” or “SAH-win.” As Samhain is believed to have originated in Celtic Ireland, this makes sense.
#2 Samhain is a Gaelic autumn festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
Samhain always begins at sundown on October 31. It's believed that this date was chosen because it's mid-fall when the “darker” half of the year really starts to kick in.
#3 Samhain is a holiday during which the dead are honored by giving food to the soul of the deceased.
Some believe that Samhain is a time to get in touch with our ancestors and ask for their guidance for the coming year.
#4 Samhain is also known as "The Festival of the Dead" and "The Night of the Dead."
It's thought that the veil between our world and the afterlife is at its thinnest at this time of year. Plus, as All Hallow's Eve, it's when witches, warlocks, and other supernatural beings come out and play.
#5 Samhain is a time to be especially cautious.
Many people believe that it’s smart to be extra vigilant around Samhain, as it’s considered a time when ghosts and spirits are free to roam about.
Halloween (Secular Holiday)
Halloween, aka All Hallows' Eve, is the sweet (and sometimes tart) October holiday we've all loved since childhood. It's primarily a cultural celebration in the US and Canada but has gained global popularity in recent years.
#1 Halloween has pagan roots.
While its origins aren't definitively known, the holiday is believed to have stemmed from Samhain.
#2 The first recorded celebration of Halloween took place in Europe in the late 16th century.
Despite the Christianization of the pagan holiday and urging Christians to avoid dressing up as devils, ghosts, and otherworldly beings, Halloween quickly spread throughout the continent. By the early 17th century, Halloween had become a firmly-entrenched holiday.
#3 Halloween was imported into the US.
Yup, it really kicked into high gear when the mass influx of famine-fleeing Irish immigrants came to America in the 19th century. They brought over many of the traditions we commonly associate with Halloween — like pumpkin carving.
#4 The custom of dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating as we know it today may have originated in the United States in the late 1800s.
Some people think mumming — a practice of dressing as ghosts, demons, etc. and performing antics in exchange for food and drink that dates back to the Middle Ages — is the precursor to contemporary trick-or-treating. Others assert that the modern American version of getting into costumes and door-to-door trick-or-treating is actually an offshoot of belsnickling, a trick-or-treat-like custom that was all the rage in 18th- and 19th-century US and Canada.
#5 Halloween's one of the most beloved holidays in the United States, with an estimated total economic impact of over $10 billion annually.
That's a lot of chocolate coins spent on costumes, candy, decorations, blah blah blah!
Whatever You Do & However You Do It — Celebrate October 31st!
And you don’t need to limit yourself to a single day each circle of the sun. You can show your love of Halloween and Samhain year-round. Keep the vibe alive 365!
Here are some festive and fun possibilities. But, make it happen your way!
Dress like a Hallowed Queen
There’s no shortage of Halloween-themed attire you can throw on. From tops — like this Pumpkin I Scream Cone tank — to bottoms — like two-toned Horror Scream shorts or retro Pumpkin Face shorts — you’ve got options galore.
Treat Yourself to an Extra Something
Sometimes, it’s the finishing touches that make or break your look. Get the right accessories so your outfit isn’t as flat as a smashed jack-o-lantern. Gauge-friendly pumpkin earrings, a vampiric crossbody bag, or a bewitched tote might just do the trick.
Ghoul All-Out on the Decorations & Drinkware
A huge part of the fun is decking out your house with motifs that conjure up happy Halloween or Samhain sentiments. Candles, wall art, ashtrays — even your shower curtain — are opportunities to scare up some seasonal spirit. You can even sip your morning witches’ brew in a travel cauldron and toss back your BOOzy shooters in a skull shot glass.
Samhain & Halloween — Know Them, Love Them, Celebrate Them!
Halloween and Samhain are long-standing holidays with European pagan beginnings. Today, they’re observed in various ways and incarnations the world over.
But, you don’t have to hold yourself back and only display your love of these kindred holidays and customs one day a year. You can indulge in Halloween-inspired clothing, home goods, and more anytime!