Why do we celebrate Halloween?
The chill can be felt in the air now. The leaves have fallen from the trees. This part of the earth (the northern hemisphere) is getting ready for a rest. The land we are on is leaning away from the sun and our days are getting shorter. We are slowly heading towards winter.
Many of us enjoy this transition time into winter. We like the gorgeous colors of the trees and plants. The yummy apple pies, pumpkin pies, fruits, vegetables, all the abundance that the earth provided for us over the past growing season is enjoyed and even preserved to eat during the winter months ahead. If you live in a city, your grocery stores are filled with all the same wonderful delights. With all the beauty and abundance of great food it certainly feels like a time to celebrate.
Humans have been celebrating at this time of year for many millennium. One of the celebrations we know and take part in is Halloween.
As a kid, it was about reading stories about ghosts, watching scary shows, dressing up and going trick or treating. I even soaped a few windows in my time. Lol As an adult, this festivity is about buying candy and trying not to eat it all before the kids come knocking on the door.
Have you ever asked yourself, why? Why do we do this? How did trick or treating begin? Why do we wear costumes? What’s the deal with the spiritual, ghostly side of things at this time of year? This week I have been researching the history of Halloween and of course, I wanted to know if natural plant aromatics played a role in this celebration.
Do you use essential oils for Halloween? What are your traditions at this time of year?
Where does Halloween originate?
As with much of history, there is much to know and it can be complicated. It seems that many cultures and religions, ancient and new, celebrate the dead in one way or another. It seems like this behavior by humans is common and cross cultural.
I wanted to know how far back this festive practice goes and where it began. As I mentioned, there is a lot of information, however, I found the following two celebrations to be the biggest link to what we now know as Halloween, (at least here in Canada, including the United States).
Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”)
From the reading I have been doing, it seems that this particular celebration is the oldest and most closely linked to our modern day celebration of Halloween.
Samhain was and still is celebrated by some on November 1. It is one of the annual celebrations of the Celtic/Gaelic calendar year. It is possible that this festivity is over 5000 years old. Click here to read some interesting information
This was the day they recognized as the beginning of the New Year. The time for the land to rest and go to sleep. They believed that on the eve of Samhain the boundary between this world and the other world could be crossed.
Spirits (good and bad) were believed to cross over and visit their old homes and families. Offerings were laid out to please them and in hopes the spirits would help them survive the forthcoming winter. Other customs of Samhain included:
- Mumming and guising (dressing up)
- Going door to door
- Reciting verses for food
- Divination games
- Apples and Nuts
Click here for more information
This has many similarities to Halloween.
This is a Christian celebration observed in multiple countries on October 31. In some parts of the world, Christians attend church and light candles on the graves of those who have passed away. This is followed by a feast the next day (All Hallows’ Day) and marks the beginning of the three day celebration of Allhallowtide. It’s a time to remember saints (hallows), loved ones and martyrs who have passed away.
This Christian celebration was originally held in the month of May of each year. During the 9th century it was changed to November 1. Some articles suggested the change was made to help regular folk transition to Christianity, thus still allowing them to continue to celebrate some of the familiar traditions of old.
Click here for more information
It seems to me that Halloween as we know it is mostly a merging of the above two popular celebrations. Quite interesting!
Essential Oils and Remembering Loved Ones
Whether you are a spiritual/religious person or not, I think we can agree that remembering those that have gone before us is a nice thing to do. I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to think my existence will be remembered for a little while after I am gone. 🙂
Remembering our loved ones can be emotional sometimes, especially if the passing is recent. Guess what? There are some essential oils that are thought to help you during times of grief. Here is a list of some suggestions:
- Cedar wood
The use of essential oils can be quite comforting during the grieving process. The list above is just a brief overview.
Use Essential Oils, Sage and Incense to Protect Yourself from Stress, Negative Energies and……….Evil Spirits 🙂
Protecting your psyche from attacks isn’t all about ghosts and evil spirits. You may not even believe in such things. Even if scary stories and goblins are just pretend to you, you will probably agree that your mind and your attitude can be affected by negative thoughts, people and sometimes the stress of day to day life.
There are so many ways we can help ourselves and our minds to stay calm, happy and healthy. Here are the names of a few essential oils that are considered to be cleansing and protecting. They are:
Remember, you can use them to ward off the bad spirits that are crossing over on Halloween Night. 😉
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Have you ever had the opportunity to experience smudging? Smudging is a Shamanic practice that is used to remove negative energies and spirits.
As part of my career as an educational assistant, I have attended shared professional learning events with the First Nation’s community in my area. When we visit their facilities for these events, we are part of their morning ritual. They begin each day burning sage, drumming and singing songs to their deities. I absolutely love being part of this tradition. The lingering smell of the sage in the air is a delight!
The smoke from incense is believed by some to be cleansing and purifying, much like smudging sage. As a matter of fact, I purchased myself some sage incense recently. It’s been quite some time since I burned incense and I quite enjoyed it.
A popular incense is frankincense. It is known for purification and removing negativity (evil) from your mind and environment. In fact, it is still used worldwide in various ceremonies.
Essential Oils for a Fun Halloween
On a lighter, more fun filled note. Let’s look at how essential oils can enhance the ambience of your Halloween festivities.
While researching information on this article, I kept a list of some of the recommended oils to use at Halloween. I thought it could be used if you would like to mix up some new scents. It might be fun to diffuse oils while the little ones come to the door for their candy, during a Halloween party, in a haunted house or anytime you like! I’ve categorized them into top, middle and base notes. Click here to read more about blending oils with respect to their aromatic notes.
Here is a very general formula to follow if you are interested in mixing up your oils.
• Top Notes 2-3 drops
• Middle Notes 3-4 drops
• Base Notes 5-6 drops
“Top” note EOs used at Halloween include Melissa, Orange and Grapefruit
“Middle-Top” note EOs used at Halloween include Anise, Galbanum, Mandarin, Black Pepper, Cardamom and Rosemary
“Middle” note EOs used at Halloween include Cloves, Pine and Cypress
“Base-Middle” note EOs used at Halloween include Cedar wood and Patchouli
“Base” note EO used at Halloween is Cinnamon
I wanted to make a special note about an oil that I recently became aware of. It is called Anise. I thought it might be a great oil to use on Halloween. Apparently, it has an intense aroma similar to black licorice. It has many health benefits, however, I did notice a warning that it could be toxic if used incorrectly and should be kept away from children. I would advise that ALL essential oils be kept away from children, use common sense and always read the labels. Despite the warning, it sounds like an interesting oil to try. I do like black licorice!
Just a couple more things…..and a request!
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope you had fun and enjoyed this week’s Halloween topic. I learned a thing or two about the traditions we so commonly partake in.
If you have never tried essential oils for their many emotional and physical benefits then I hope you consider giving them a try. Plants use these oils for protection from various harmful conditions in their environment and we can leverage similar benefits when we use them too.
If you have a collection of oils, try blending up some special mixtures to diffuse on Halloween. This will add a special element to the mood of the environment.
If you take some time to remember special people that have passed before you, do it with a light and peaceful state of mind. Celebrate them!
I would like to make a special request. Please take a moment to share where you live and how you celebrate Halloween (or similar festivities) in your part of the world. I would be very interested to hear about it.
I would like to wish you all a fun filled and positive Halloween. Stay safe and have an awesome week ahead.
Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)
I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.
If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.
It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.
Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.
Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.