I didn’t grow up with Halloween. It was only something that started to impact in my life when my son was born. When he started to go to nursery he came home with Halloween costume requests and that started me thinking about this day that was celebrated with dressing up, scary movies and trick or treating.
When I moved to Ireland nearly 13 years ago I really started to become curious and did a little studying about the history of Halloween. Today it is really about the candy and costumes. In the past I have bought sweets and chocolates and then found myself eating too much of it myself. The question is – how did it start?
I am told that Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic festival known of Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). This is also November in the Irish language, and the month my son was born.
The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest Gaelic culture. It was believed that on 31 October the boundry between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped. This meant that the dead would come back to life and haunt us.
I love this photo taken in the Spiddal graveyard. As a photographer I really love the winter light. It creates a starkness to the bare branches and adds a spooky feel to the mudane.
These days I mark the day by going to a quiet place, perhaps a little dark. Not a bad place, but simply a contemplative place where I can remember those who have passed from this life into the next. I choose to believe that I will be guided rather than haunted.
I might have to indulge in a little chocolate just because.