Did you know that the Jack O’ Lantern is actually thought to represent a severed human head captured in battle?  An that in Mexico, some people sleep on the graves on their ancestors on the night before Halloween?

Halloween has become such a part of modern tradition, that we often forget to realize it is one of the only secular holidays that actually has origins in the sacred. The childhood holiday of spooks and goblins has some macabre beginnings, and was influenced by many cultural traditions that seem to be shared in one time or another by a universal , if not archaic belief in ancestor worship. Today many countries  have adopted the popularized themes of the holiday in the ubiquitous costumes, apple bobbing contests, and trick or treating. But the origins of “All Hallows Eve” are much more ancient, sharing a kindred desire to celebrate the dead with many cultures. With many elements of an early European belief in ancestor divinity, and the fear of what the changing seasons bring, Halloween is the culmination of many thousands of years of collective human traditions that worship the dead. The examples below are some of the festivals and religious practices that have contributed in influencing the holiday that we have come to know and love since childhood.

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