The relevance of candles with the Halloween Festival is obvious. The light they represent represents enlightenment in a life that otherwise seem dark. Similarly, Halloween candles are associated with the enlightenment of the soul. Furthermore, burning candles in the midst of death refers to Christ as the light.
As purifying and refinement are closely associated with Halloween, candles are an obvious choice for Halloween decor. They have the ability to transform a party space in an instant into a mysterious, haunted and spooky place.
Candles are Used to Appease Ghosts
This festival focuses on the dead and the afterlife and is a part of Celtic and European folklore. The tradition of lighting candles to appease the spirits is a long-standing one. Many cultures in the Western world also have traditional ghost days. These days of the dead have their roots in the tribal folk religions that predated Christianity and Buddhism. The Celts, for instance, believed that the last day of October was the “day of the dead”. Similar beliefs are prevalent in China.
Burning candles in homes and on doors to ward off the evil spirits can be a very effective way to ward off these creatures. A lit candle acts as a protection device for your home and is a ritual that dates back to Celtic times. Celts believed that putting a light by their door would help guide lost spirits home. They also believed that the use of fire protected homes and communities. Lighting a candle or lantern was also a way to call for help if you were lost in the dark.
During the earlier times, candles were expensive and were only available to churches. Ordinary people used tallow or rushlight candles instead. These were made from animal fat. Neil Gaiman, the author of the novel Stardust, also claimed that candlelight was the fastest way to travel. In addition to lighting candles, people also lit them as a symbol of prayers. It is also believed that the smoke from burning a candle sent good energy to those who were nearby.
The ancient Celts celebrated a festival called Samhain. In addition to using candles to appease the ghosts, they lit their homes and burned incense to ward off evil spirits. This festival also occurs in Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In many cultures, the festival takes place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, the same date as the Halloween festival in Western countries.
Pumpkins and Acorns – History and DIY
While we’re all familiar with Halloween and its ghoulish pumpkin carvings, not many of us are aware of Samhain. In Celtic mythology, Samhain is the god of the dead. He rules the land at the beginning of the Druid New Year, beginning on November 1 when the darkness grew longer and light grew shorter. Throughout the long winter months, Samhain reigned and the Sun god weakened. Interestingly, no word in the English dictionary rhymes with orange, purple, and silver, so pumpkins aren’t really part of the Samhain tradition.
Halloween has evolved from the pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, or “sow-in,” which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of the new year. The Celts believed that on this night, the boundary between the worlds was blurred, and that the dead came back to live. The harvest, including the pumpkin, was associated with the dead, the afterlife, and the supernatural.
While it’s true that pumpkins aren’t part of the Samhain tradition, they were adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. In the 8th century CE, Pope Gregory III made All Saints’ Day, a Catholic holiday celebrating all saints, separate from Samhain. This celebration was intended to balance the pagan festival of Samhain. Moreover, during the massive Irish immigration in the United States, Halloween’s traditions were introduced to the country.
Can I make candle from a pumpkin?
Yes! Pumpkins can be turned into a candle holder easily. First, you need to scoop out the seed filled fleshy part of the pumpkin and make it hollow. Use the pumpkins seeds into your compost. Next, melt some wax and pour it into your pumpkin vessel. You can add a few drops of your favorite scent to create a DIY scented candle. Alternatively, you can place tealight candles or candle sticks into your pumpkin and light them. This pumpkin decoration can be proudly displayed as a centerpiece on your dinner table, in the kitchen, inside the fireplace or mantel. This easy DIY Halloween craft idea can be implemented anywhere around your home or workplace to create a spooky Halloween vibe conveniently.
Acorns are another part of the celebration. They are considered sacred in some cultures and are a symbol of wisdom, longevity, and good luck. Native nuts are also commonly used during this time of year. Acorns aren’t part of the traditional Samhain, but they carry the traits of the mother tree. As well as acorns, black and orange are considered neutral colors while pumpkins are associated with death. Purple symbolizes wisdom and insight.
Here is an interesting DIY Acorn candle holder idea from Martha Stewart
They are used in memory of deceased friends and family
A Jewish tradition, Yahrtzeit, involves lighting a candle in memory of a deceased friend or family member on the anniversary of their death. The candle is often accompanied by a prayer. Christians use candles for a similar purpose. During funerals, they are lit at the gravesite of a loved one to commemorate the deceased. Candles symbolize the light of the Buddha’s teachings and signify spiritual life.
The tradition originated in ancient Greece, where Macedonians would light candles for 40 days after a death. They believed that burning candles would ward off ghosts and demons. Greeks and Romans also burned torches in memory of loved ones who were buried in crypts. Candles used during Halloween festival are often inscribed with words of wisdom, insight, and inspiration.
The Mexican culture celebrates the holiday differently. Mexicans celebrate “Day of the Dead” instead of Halloween. Families visit the graves of their departed relatives on Nov. 2 and leave little gifts. They also make candy skulls to sell on the street. Jesus Rodriguez, a Crowder student, explains the significance of these symbols in his culture. The culture of Mexico celebrates Halloween in a religious way.
This tradition dates back to pre-Christian Celtic festivals. Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, was a time for the community to gather their resources and bring animals home from pastures. While these festivals are largely related to the Christian faith, they are still deeply connected to pagan traditions. There is even evidence that the Celtic festival influenced the origin of Halloween.
They are used as a vigil for All Saints Day
The Catholic Church considers Allhallowtide a “triduum,” a period of three days of prayer and worship, generally preceding a feast day. In the Catholic Church, the most important triduums are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. The three days of Allhallowtide commemorate living Christians, the saints of heaven, and the souls of the dead.
Traditionally, All Hallows’ Eve is a vigil for All Saints, and candles are used to remember the dead. In Louisiana, relatives of the deceased light candles and place them near their graves. On All Souls, a Mass is normally held in a cemetery. While there are no pagan roots to Halloween, the festival is based on anti-Catholic propaganda.
Before the modern holiday, the holiday was celebrated in a variety of ways. Candles were lit to provide light for souls and baked small loaves for the dead. People were expected to show respect for the dead, and cemeteries were open to the public on All Saints Days. Candles and flowers were left on the graves, and they were believed to help guide the spirits.
On the eve of All Saints Day, the Church holds a special vigil, using candles and incense to honor the memory of deceased loved ones. Its traditions are rooted in the monastic practice of vigils, when monks would rise at night and pray. During these nights, people would hear the Word of God and the words of great saints. However, the church now uses the canonical office of Compline as the basis for the vigil.
On the evening before All Saints Day, Christians also celebrate the First Vespers of All Saints. While the Vespers of the Dead aren’t officially on the Roman liturgical calendar, the traditional prayer of the day at a cemetery is still widely practiced. The ritual also harmonizes with the concept of releasing the souls from Purgatory.
They are used as a tradition for trick-or-treating
The Halloween festival began in Ireland in the Middle Ages, and the Irish were believed to carry soul cakes as gifts in return for prayers. While some scholars do not agree that the soul cake tradition is repeated today, it is believed that this custom is closely related to the practice of trick-or-treating. The Irish originally carried candles in hollowed-out turnips, which were precursors to the carved pumpkin.
In Sweden, children dress as witches and trick-or-treat, and in Denmark children dress up in costumes and collect candy from neighbors’ doors. In Finland, children dress up as Easter witches and trick-or-treat on Palm Sunday. The practice of trick-or-treating began in Sweden and has been adapted into other countries. Candles are a traditional part of the trick-or-treating tradition on All Saints Day, which is the first Saturday in November.
Using candles as part of a trick-or-treat tradition is not only beautiful, but it is a cultural practice. Trick-or-treating has become popular throughout North America, and many towns welcome trick-or-treaters with porch lights and jack-o’-lanterns. In some towns, however, the practice is discouraged, and children are encouraged to go trick-or-treating earlier in the evening.
As the Halloween festival has spread across the globe, the use of candles has become widespread. Traditionally, Halloween was celebrated on the 31st of October. In medieval Europe, it was known as All Hallows’ Eve. The Celtics had a paganic calendar based on growing seasons. Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter.
To Sum Up
Conclusively, Halloween is a festival that has a rich tradition and a deeper significance and meaning. Candles not only play an important part in commemorating this festival but are an important part of creating the perfect Halloween vibe . So, get hold of some candles, pumpkins or pumpkin scented candles to create a spooky, lively and inviting ambiance around your home or workplace.