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Halloween has been around for more than a thousand years. The origin of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, hence people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off the spirits.  In this way, popular tropes such as witches, ghosts, goblins, fairies and angels became associated with this day (Brittanica.com). 

Halloween may be a secular affair today dominated by candy, costumes and trick-or-treating, but the holiday is rooted in religion (like many others).  It’s right there in the name meaning “holy evening” shortened from “All Hallows Eve” being the evening before the Christian holy days of “All Hallows Day” (or “All Saints Day”) on November 1st and “All Souls Day” on November 2nd.   It is also a religious holiday honoring Christian Martyrs. 

Halloween is celebrated in many countries.  However, the emphasis remains on secular aspects.  We should try to explain the significance of this (as well as other religious holidays) to our next generation. Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween have formed over time.  For example, jack-o-lanterns are traditionally carried by guisers on All Hallows Eve in order to frighten evil spirits. While there is less emphasis on saints, angels and fairies (compared to witches, goblins and ghosts), considerable information exists on these brighter cheerful souls as well. A well-known book called Angels and Fairies offers a profound insight into the realms of these joyful beings.  In a style that is both uplifting and joyful, the author Sri Chinmoy (Indian spiritual leader) describes the habits and behaviors of these beings.  His personal and profound descriptions shed light on the role of both angels and fairies as messengers , connecting the Divine with the human. Sri Chinmoy, a renowned spiritual leader, speaks with full confidence of a fully illumined Master, who has attained oneness with the higher realms of fairies, angels and other celestial beings. 

As with many other festivals such as Christmas, Diwali (Hindu festival of lights), the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, Halloween has a religious significance. It is imperative that we explain all of these to a wider audience, including children, so that the meaning of these important celebrations is not lost in the secular and commercial aspects that are dominating today’s world.  

We would like to end with a uplifting poem about fairies, which should inspire those of all ages. 

Fairies:

Believe in the fairies

Who make dreams come true

Believe in the wonder 

The stars and the moon

Believe in the magic

From fairies above

They dance on the flowers

And sing songs of love

And if you just believe

And always stay true

The fairies will be there

To watch over you.

  • - Poet Anonymous
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