It happened on this day….October 31st

On this day, Halloween, celebrated on October 31, can be traced back to Samhain, the ancient Celtic harvest festival honoring the Lord of the Dead. Observed on November 1 in the British Isles and parts of France, Samhain also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Because it was a time of transition between the old and the new, the Celts believed that the souls of those who had died during the previous year gathered to travel together to the land of the dead. It was also a time when those who had died in years past returned to visit their homes. November 1 was considered the end of the summer period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. People lit bonfires to scare away evil spirits and “sacrificed” fruits and vegetables, hoping to appease the spirits of the deceased. Sometimes people disguised themselves in masks and costumes so that the visiting spirits would not recognize them. Charms, spells, and predictions of the future were all part of the eve of Samhain. In the old Celtic calendar, that last evening of October was “old-year’s night,” the night of all witches.

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