Incorporate Candles Into Your Halloween Décor This Year
Long before anyone ever dreamed of leaving carved Jack O’Lanterns on their front porch, fall festivals on October 31st were bright and brilliant affairs. The ancient pagan Celts celebrated four significant “fire festivals,” each of which took place at the midway points between equinoxes and solstices.
Samhain, the precursor to today’s modern Halloween, was the most significant of all, marking the middle of the road between the beginning of autumn and the winter solstice. Communal bonfires kicked off the “dark half of the year,” and families gathered at home around slow-burning hearths. It was widely believed amongst Celtic pagans that the veil between the material and the spiritual world weakened around this time each year, making it easier to access other realms and commune with the dead.
This is more than likely where the evil or demonic connotations with Halloween originated. But if you’re not really into spooky season, perhaps you’ve been viewing it through the wrong lens. The origins of this holiday are much more profound than any of the toothless trick-or-treaters darkening your doorstep this Halloween are likely to be aware of.
Consistency Across Cultures
The natural, observable sequences in our world are undeniable. It is unsurprising, then, that most of humanity acknowledges some sort of calendar marking the cycles. The Wheel of the Year is still used in contemporary pagan and spiritual practices to celebrate the changing seasons.
Interestingly, across cultural and theological traditions, fire is ever-present. For centuries, Christians have followed the liturgical calendar to acknowledge significant holidays, using candles as a way of deepening their prayer life and connection with God. Astrologers have combined their divinatory knowledge of the cosmos with candle magic to elect auspicious timing of events.
No matter your religious or spiritual background, you can use candles as an homage to these ancient, beloved traditions.
Ideas for Doorstep Décor
If your preference for holiday decorating is subtle and tasteful, Samhain will quickly become your favourite. Stand out from your neighbours’ towering skeletons and mummies and keep the creep factor minimal. When it comes to Samhain, the key is to incite feelings of awe and reverence more than straight shock and horror. That is to say, hauntingly beautiful and morbid items like corn dolls and animal bones are more typical than blood and gore. Set a pair of ivory white candles next to a raven sculpture for a macabre black-and-white vibe.
Pine cones and apples, too, are typical harvest festival decorations that you can integrate into your décor, especially if you’re itching for a new wreath idea this year. Pumpkins and gourds are also a must—we recommend pairing them with soft, flickering candlelight in your front window this Halloween.
Whatever your holiday plans might be, know that when you light a candle, you are participating in rituals as old as humanity itself. That’s truly something to celebrate.