• Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The Kilted Heathen

Crow FreyjasmaðR
So as not to spoil festivities, I thought to post this here.

I recently answered an objection to "The Origins of Halloween Are Pagan" that relied on several misconceptions. So, to clear that up:

The Irish tale Tochmarc Emire lists Samhain as one of four quarterly Fire Festivals, marking the solstices and equinoxes as turning points of the year. Both Tochmarc Emire and Echtra Cormaic outline Samhain as quite significant. Samhain is mirrored by Bealtaine; Samhain for the dead and winter, Bealtaine for the living and summer.

The Medieval text Serglige Con Culainn states that Samhain festivals lasted for three days before Samhain and three days after; a whole week. The celebrations included feasts, contests, and Togail Bruidne Dá Derga mentions the lighting of great bonfires made from sacrifices of the last harvest (a bundle from the gathered). In Moray, Scotland, these bonfires were built from children making rounds to request for firewood, after which a fire-leaping contest would be held. Additionally, flames from the bonfires would be taken home. Hearthfires would be doused, and relit with the new flame of the coming year.

As well, that Samhain is a festival of the dead, it bears more in common with All Hallow's Day than it does our modern Halloween. A practice that makes this correlation rather odd, as early Christians up to the 9th Century didn't quite honor the dead after burial, believing staunchly in the Resurrection, and this All Hallow's Day wasn't for all of the dead, only the saints and the martyrs.

Still, Samhain beliefs that the veil between our world and the otherworld thins at Samhain and Bealtaine held a manner of prominence in practices surrounding the time, whether tied to the festival itself or in the surrounding days. Being a season of death, the aos sí (faeries, spirits, etc) could be more malevolent, and needed to be propitiated to ensure survival of hearth and hold for the winter. Such offerings included food and drink, as well as portions of the gathered harvest.

Additionally, while the acts of mumming and guising (seen in more modern practices like the Mari Lwyd and the Láir Bhán) have origins around the 16th Century, these begin a practice of impersonating the aos sí and begging offerings on their behalf. From this quickly came about the propensity for mischief and pranks, leading Samhain to be known as "Mischief Night" in Scotland around the 1700's. So while the origins of "Trick or Treating" aren't ancient, they were certainly originating from a modern practice of continuing Pagan traditions revolving around the aos sí.

As well jack-o-lanterns began in 1800's Scotland and Ireland as makeshift lanterns carved from turnips carried by these pranksters impersonating the aos sí, and placed on windowsills to ward from both the false aos sí and the actual aos sí. Modern practices that, again, have a Pagan origin.

There are several flaws all around in various claims made. For some modern Pagans, the claim that every practice is "ancient". They aren't, and being modern makes practices no less valid. For Christians, the belief that non-Christian folk practices ("paganism") for this season ended - particularly in Scotland and Ireland - once the Church came. They didn't, they simply became less grand.


Active Member
Loved your post. Just a minor point, in Britain mumming or momerie is first recorded in the 13th C. Momment was banned in France ( Troyes) in 1263.