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TheDinnersGoneCold t1_itl1l5p wrote

I didnt read the post but I was under the impression that what we call Samhain today was one of 8 points in the year used by Irish Neolithic farmers thousands of years ago. There are cairns with passageways aligned with the rising sun on each of these. On the morning of Samhain when the sun shone through the passageway to the innermost part of the cairn the people knew it was that time of year to xyz. Beacon fires were apparently lit on at least some of these cairns so others could light their beacons and so on, spreading the news that it was time to harvest this or sow that. What they did is hard to determine exactly.


Ferengi_Earwax t1_itlt56w wrote

I mean it's not just the Irish Neolithic, pretty much all of Europe had the same beliefs. We know farming came sooner to Ireland than Britain, but that's just what we've found yet. It's likely the Neolithic package was spread by sons looking for new farms for theirself and they taught people along the way. It doesn't take that many centuries to spread out from the middle east this way. You also have the beaker folk who the original ones seem to have been far distance traders who basically created trading posts by settling in to new populations bringing new techs. Then you have the massive depopulation of Britain soon after this time. Could have been from disease brought by the new people... still, once the Neolithic package came to an area, it was much the same, just with local variants.


DontWakeTheInsomniac t1_itrkrip wrote

>We know farming came sooner to Ireland than Britain, but that's just what we've found yet.

Really? I'd have assumed the other way around..


Ferengi_Earwax t1_itrlzop wrote ... the currents in the Atlantic Ocean off of spain will bring you right to Ireland. There has already been significant study of how these currents took seeds and mediterranean plants to Ireland after the ice melted after the last ice age. In Britain the plants are the ones in northern France, Denmark and Scandinavian. I linked the field system because they're well known, however there are a myriad of long barrows, Neolithic tombs and standing stones that are older than those in Britain by centuries to a millenia. It's likely they spread from Ireland. You also have the Orkney island culture (stones of stennese, skara brae) which seems to have spread South at just a little later date. Arachaeologists are trying to figure out where these rituals started in the isles. Like most things, it was probably a combination of cultures that came together. One thing is for sure, they all are very similar to each other for thousands of years showing trade routes and a widespread belief system based on the seasonal equinoxes/solstices.


Ferengi_Earwax t1_itrn7uf wrote those are the rubble of the walls that have long been uncovered. Most of them are still intact under the peat up to a meter or more. I can't find a photo, but in one of neil Oliver's documentaries, the history of ancient Britain (age of farming I think ita called on youtube) he exposes an intact wall. They cover a truly expansive area, all under the peat now.


Sudden-Possible3263 t1_itkmajk wrote

Now Halloween here has become Americanised, it's changed just in the last 20years


EduinBrutus t1_itmm1m5 wrote

To be fair, the only meaningful difference between American Halloween and traditional Scottish Halloween is that you just demand the sweets instead of performing for them and you carve a pumpkin instead of a neep.

It#s really just the same thing. The loss of the performance is disappointing, for sure. But overall, its clearly still the same tradition.


newbiesaccout t1_itmxmee wrote

The costume is thought of as the performance now, I think. Some refuse to give candy to those who are too old or not dressed up


anythingyouwant4 t1_itn31z0 wrote

I'm currently living in St Louis Missouri USA where the tradition is that trick or treaters must tell a joke in order to earn their treat.


Vintagemuse t1_itnljta wrote

That’s so Interesting! I’m in Cincinnati area and we don’t do that here.


Mrhere_wabeer t1_itn6spk wrote

People have been celebrating it more than just 20 years. Try the 60s if not even before that. It's not a new thing


Sudden-Possible3263 t1_itystar wrote

Up where I am it's only recently been Americanised, up till 10/20 years ago they still called it guising and used a neep, now it's trick or treating and a pumpkin, even how kids go door to door has changed


Xx69JdawgxX t1_itnizuj wrote

When I was a kid my buddy's mom was from Scotland she told us people would go from house to house drinking. Like you'd go to your neighbors house then everyone would walk to the next and so on and so on, gathering up more folks for the party. Any truth to this?


Sudden-Possible3263 t1_itysxiv wrote

There might have been the odd party with alcohol involved but not so much door to door with the adults, the kids did this. It's maybe different in other parts. Hogmanay was when the door to door was happening


angel_girl2248 t1_itmp9wf wrote

In the province of Newfoundland, which is in Canada, we also used to carve turnips instead of pumpkins years ago 🎃


SeleucusNikator1 t1_itqf1dy wrote

I wish these articles would be more clear in specifying that Samhain is a Scottish Gaelic name. For all we know, the Celtic Picts (who inhabited Scotland/Caledonia and were more closely related to the Welsh and Cumbrians) would not have called it that or necessarily celebrated in the same manner.


MeatballDom OP t1_itjb7kv wrote

If anyone knows a good website that turns multiple page articles into one page we'll link to it here.


Upstairs_Ad_4855 t1_itkvdvc wrote

There used to be a site that would de-slideshow a site, but the offending sites kept changing their format to prevent the readers from doing it.


BeeExpert t1_itm7t5h wrote

I remember bookmarking one of those sites long ago thinking, oh thank God I'll never have to click through a slide site again.....


Larielia t1_itmkljs wrote

The carved turnip looks spooky.


Auto_Fac t1_itn8jsn wrote

Doesn't mention the delicious All Hallows Eve dessert, Fuarag, still a fundamental part of Halloween observances in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and a part of my experience of Halloween all my life.


EduinBrutus t1_itncuw3 wrote

> Fuarag

This was a new term to me.

It sounds very much like Cranachan. Not sure why its got a different name.


Auto_Fac t1_iuk6np6 wrote

It does sound quite similar, though Cranachan seems to often have berries with it.

Fuarag also has a divination history - kinda - as things like a coin, wedding ring, and something else were put in, with the items telling the future of the one who found them. I've only read that and never heard of it being done in Cape Breton.

Sitting here now after the trick or treaters have finished mowing into a bowl of it!


Afrosmokes t1_itng9ki wrote

Never seen an image so perfectly represent Scotland.


AramaicDesigns t1_itjq0ai wrote

A lot of these are dubious, and absolutely not ancient (unless ~200 years old is "ancient" somehow). Halloween is not derived from Samhain (unless the ancient Celts were somehow influencing Rome in the early 600s, which is when and where Halloween got its start) and guising is no older than the late 1700s.


heinzbumbeans t1_itjz5m8 wrote

Actually, it appears the Romans were influenced by celts.

>By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the 400 years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain


thefrostmakesaflower t1_itkgo71 wrote

Romans never conquered Ireland, Samhain is still the word for November in the Irish lanaguage. We consider it an Irish celtic holiday but I’m sure other celts were involved. Irish celts went to Scotland so make sense their is a connection


Scandalous_Andalous t1_itlbh3u wrote

The Romans never fully colonised / Romanised Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany and large parts of Iberia hence the survival of those Celtic languages through to modern times.

Samhain or Sauin was observed by Gaelic Celts throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. But Brittonic Celts from Brittany, Cornwall and Wales also held similar festivals - called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany.


thefrostmakesaflower t1_itlipca wrote

That’s cool about the other celtic nations, I figured there would be over lap culturally. I have to add that the Romans never invaded Ireland, there were some trade links but that’s about it.


Swartsuer t1_itk5dlz wrote

Do you maybe have an other source? This one leads to a 404. The important thing here would be the question of area - did only the conquered Celts (now officially Roman citizens) incorporate their old holidays in the Roman calendar? Or did the Roman calendar in regions like Sicily change?


heinzbumbeans t1_itk964j wrote

sorry, dont know what went wrong. ill try again but less fancy.,of%20the%20traditions%20of%20Samhain.

and another incase that didnt work:

im no expert, i was just curious by what you said so looked it up. im doing so, i assumed that what you said about the romans having halloween in 600ish was true, and so when i read about Samhain and it coming before that, i reckoned the romans must have been influenced by the celts rather than the other way around, since Samhain does sound awfully halloweeny, what with the dressing up to ward off/fool spirits and the portals to the spirit world and such, (im scottish and was taught the last part as a child, i have no idea if that idea extends to america and elsewhere) whereas the roman festivals around the same time sound far less halloweeny.


AramaicDesigns t1_itky2pv wrote

Britanica repeats a number of woozles about Halloween that – despite having a citation pedigree – do not have primary historical sources to support them.


SeleucusNikator1 t1_itqdlt5 wrote

Would those Celtic territories celebrate Samhain in the same manner we think of? I think it's often understated that there was plenty of inner-Celtic diversity, for instance Irish and Scottish Gaelic are quite distinct from Welsh and Breton languages. The Romans largely only ruled over the Gauls, Britons, Iberians, etc. but never bothered with the Goidelic groups.


RedCerealBox t1_itkc355 wrote

Confidentiality incorrect. In the 7th century that Catholic holiday was in May and was only moved to coincide with Samhain 200 years later. Or Samhain just happened to be celebrated on the exact day and have many of the same traditions?

The actual month of November in Irish is called "mí na Samhna" or the month of Samhain. It is certainly ancient and would be very difficult to separate Halloween from Samhain just because the name Halloween in English comes from a holiday the Catholic church moved to have the same date


EduinBrutus t1_itlt7hs wrote

Its very easy to separate Halloween from Samhain from the complete lack of evidence of Halloween in Ireland (outwith pockets in the Scots planter communities) before the modern era or of any continued celebration of Samhain as a harvest festival (or whatever it actually was because that's pretty damn fuzzy).

Halloween was created, in Scotland, to continue Catholic traditions in an era where Calvinism made any "popery" either unwelcome or outright illegal. The mask of older Celtic traditions from half remembered folk tales was at best a ruse to obscure that it was just people who wanted their parties to keep going after the new protestant religion tried to ban them.

And while there is a complete lack of Irish evidence, Scots literature and other primary sources are filled with Halloween from the late 1600s onwards.


RedCerealBox t1_itlz4x7 wrote

When is the gap in celebrating Samhain in Ireland?

By 'created in Scotland ' do you mean the name being coined? Samhain itself is present in medieval Irish literature and possibly before then.

It's literally the name of the month in Irish and people in Ireland have been lighting bonfires, dressing up and playing games with apples throughout history and not just by planters.

I know it's Wikipedia but it's well referenced:


EduinBrutus t1_itmk9ph wrote

No, I mean Halloween was literally created in Scotland.

And inventions from the Age of Nationalism which is when Irish "history" seems to have been created and references to such material just don't cut it.

There is Halloween in Scottish literature from the late 1600s.

There is no Halloween in Irish literature of the period.

There is no Samhain in Irish literature of the period.

From your own damn link > The festival was not recorded in detail until the early modern era.

There is a world of difference between a folk practise which has some sort of root in an ancient festival or tradition but whose roots are forgotten and actual continuation of a tradition over time. Its comical to even suggest that druidic era customs continued anywhere in the British Isles when we know that they did not.

For instance take jack o lanterns. Im not aware of a single primary source that links them directly to Samhain. Certainly its reasonable that they have association with the autumn season and Samhain could have been a harvest festival. But the link is entirely based on circumstance and best guess. Its not evidenced.


regular_reddit-user t1_itk0q9j wrote

Rome conquered the territory of modern france, there were celts living there before the frankish invasion


Wwwweeeeeeee t1_itkxr27 wrote

I've long understood and haven't been convinced otherwise, that Halloween's origins are with the French celts.


SeleucusNikator1 t1_itqeeny wrote

Gauls is a better term, "French Celts" is a bit weird since the name France derives from the Germanic Franks and French culture itself is a Romanized one at its core.

That being said, I find it unlikely to have been from Gaul. "Halloween" is a very North American and UK-Ireland type of thing, not something you find in the rest of Europe. The rest of the continent celebrates All Saints' Eve without costumes or apple bobbing and whatnot, instead they go to mass and pay their respects to dead family members.

In France, Spain, Portugal (all areas formerly inhabited by Celts the Romans conquered), Halloween traditions like trick or treating and costumes are seen as Americanisation and foreign.


Nougattabekidding t1_itjzd5l wrote

Do you mean Lemuria? Because that was a festival in May. The Christians took elements from both Lemuria and Samhain to create halloween.


dutchwonder t1_itk6wnp wrote

Eh, I would be a little skeptical on celebration first mentioned in the 9th century as being influential on Christianity given that Christianity took hold in the 5th century.


Nougattabekidding t1_itk7ey3 wrote

Sorry, which festival are you talking about? Do you mean Samhain? Isn’t the reason we don’t have mention of it being celebrated earlier than the 9th century because we have very little written record of Gaelic traditions pre-9th century?

Additionally, I am no expert on early Christian traditions but was halloween part of early Christian traditions? Or did it come later?


dutchwonder t1_itk8adr wrote

Probably later and much more recent than the 9th century, at least in whatever guise we see it today. This goes for a lot of trying to back date modern traditions to things more than a thousand years ago.

There is kind of a period in the 19th century where many "folklorist" thought they could parse out pre-Christian traditions from their modern day practices and thus tease out over thousand year old beliefs and traditions, which is a bit dubious and as fraught with mistakes as it might sound.


Nougattabekidding t1_itk9imd wrote

Yes, that was my thinking. But doesn’t that lend further credence to my post and contradict what you said earlier? Or have I completely lost the plot? I have been up since the early hours with a poorly 2 year old so maybe I’m just not making any sense!


dutchwonder t1_itkafp0 wrote

Is the comment that Samhain is a pagan tradition that somehow survived 400 years as pagan?

Halloween as we know it today generally seems to not have been part of early Christian celebrations, only really seem to be getting into swing the past couple hundred years.


Glaic t1_itkb5r2 wrote

In America? Because it was in its swing far longer than a couple of hundred years in Scotland (and I'm sure Ireland, but I'm not Irish so don't know for sure).


AramaicDesigns t1_itkz9fh wrote

The very first recorded instances of anything like the modern secular Halloween celebrations ("guising"/costumes, etc.) is in the late 1700s early 1800s. The first solid example in the west is a newspaper article from Canada in the 1910s.


Glaic t1_itl18gi wrote

Wait... you mean the time Martin Martin and the like actually started visiting these remote regions and writing down their customs..? Funny that.


Nougattabekidding t1_itkb9t0 wrote

What? No my comment is that halloween was based on a Roman celebration and Samhain. The Roman festival also incorporated pagan traditions like Samhain, but that’s not what I focussed on, I was talking about Halloween.

I’m not sure what 400 years you’re talking about. I think we might have crossed wires. I took your original post to mean that halloween was a Christian tradition and Christianity began 400 years before the first mention of Samhain, therefore how could it be based on Samhain. But now I think that’s not what you meant?


AramaicDesigns t1_itkzjkx wrote

Yes. Samhain customs that people point to are far too young to have genuinely influenced the Christian celebration. There is little evidence that the "ancient" observances that were "always that way" are actually ancient. Primary historical documents do not support it.


Nougattabekidding t1_itl35qt wrote

But we have been discussing how the Christian celebrations of halloween are a lot younger than Christianity itself, and we don’t really know how old Samhain is, right? We only have a record of it from the 9th century but that’s because we don’t have really have a written record of Gaelic Ireland before then.


AramaicDesigns t1_itl58of wrote

>But we have been discussing how the Christian celebrations of halloween are a lot younger than Christianity itself,

Halloween wasn't a foundational observance of Christianity, so in that sense it's "younger." But we do have strong records of its origins, where it fell on the calendar, what basic liturgical observances there were, and how these customs evolved over time, step by step. The Celts really didn't have a say in it.

>and we don’t really know how old Samhain is, right? We only have a record of it from the 9th century but that’s because we don’t have really have a written record of Gaelic Ireland before then.

It's the perfect thing to project upon – which is what happened in the 19th century: The era of romanticized history that gave us the tall tales about pagans and figures like Christopher Columbus. And we can see how accurate those were (i.e. not).

And we know through a large number of anthropological studies the idea that "it was always this way" is always flawed without an historical record to compare it to. Customs change over time, and many of the customs that we associate with Samhain today were not even mentioned until well after the genuine pagan Celts had all died out. There is only so far one can honestly extrapolate back.


AramaicDesigns t1_itkyz3u wrote

>Additionally, I am no expert on early Christian traditions but was halloween part of early Christian traditions? Or did it come later?

Halloween is the vigil of All Saints Day – and with how old Christian holidays were celebrated the vigil was the first part of the feast.


AramaicDesigns t1_itkytvd wrote

Precisely. There's a lot of "well it was always this way" with folk who want to link Samhain to Halloween –– but it wasn't. The trappings of observances that folk are insisting are "ancient" simply aren't, and do not pre-date Christian celebrations and customs.


DontWakeTheInsomniac t1_itrrtkd wrote

In fairness, most European writers in the past paid little to no attention to folk beliefs or practices until the 16th century.

References to guising in the 1500s (not 1700s) may only be the first written reference - it does not tell us when the practice actually began.

Lastly, traditions can have more than one origin - they are often accumulated blends from multiple backgrounds. For example we know Christmas is obviously Christian and yet Christmas Trees are not.

Halloween's Celticity is highly romanticised and likely exaggerated but not entirely without basis.