Halloween’s True Origin Story

The majority of us love to prepare for the spooky season. It is a time for decorations, pumpkin carving, fun foods, and amazing costumes. But, what if we told you that Halloween hasn’t always been Halloween? In fact, what if we told you that Halloween is derived from another holiday completely? Well, it is. 

Halloween is actually not as old as you might think. Originally, people in Ireland celebrated Samhain, and they still do to this day. In this post, you will learn about Samhain and some new easy dishes!

Celtic Samhain


Halloween is derived from a Celtic festival called Samhain. It’s one of the four most important Celtic holidays, marking the transition between the summer and the dark winter. In this night, the gateway to the Otherworld was so thin that the souls of their ancestors could move freely between the two worlds. 

Are these just archaic ghost stories? A recent survey revealed that 1 out of 5 Americans state they have actually seen or felt the presence of a ghost.

What Is Samhain?

Samhain is a Celtic festival that has been celebrated for quite some time in Ireland. This ancient festival, which is commonly celebrated from October 31st to November 1st, is a time for fun, scares, and revelry. 

Samhain falls during the transition from summer and the dark winter, making it one of the prominent Celtic celebrations each year. 

The celtic tree of life
The celtic tree of life

Instead of merely focusing on all things scary, Samhain is known to be the day when the vale between the land of the living and the land of the dead is thin. The gateway, often shown as the Tree of Life, is believed to allow the spirits of the dead to travel back and forth between two planes. As you can imagine, people are a little unsettled by this, but some look to the bright side and consider the souls of their ancestors dropping by for a visit instead.

Lantern Carving

Halloween simply would not be Halloween without jack-o-lanterns, but this is not a Halloween-specific tradition. In fact, it is one of the many things carried over from Samhain. 

Traditionally, the people of Ireland would carve lanterns out of vegetables and place them in their window to frighten unwanted spirits. The most common vegetable of choice was the turnip, but beets and rutabagas were also quite popular. It is unclear when pumpkins joined the carving scene, but they are much easier to work with, which likely plays a role in this change.

Pumpkin and Root Vegetable Delights


Mashed Potatoes with Parsnip

Try mash potatoes with a little sweet note without any sweetener:

Cook and mash one or two parsnips with the potatoes. You won’t note a difference until you taste it.


A Root Side Dish – Recipe 

Try this recipe as a new savory side dish to steaks or roasted turkey: Cut 1 lb turnip, rutabaga, or other beets in 1/2-inch cubes. Cook them in a closed pot with one cup of salted water until they are cooked but not too soft. Fry the beet cubes in vegetable oil. Scoop out and drain on a paper towel. 

Optionally, sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika, and toss. Other options are: chili powder, Sichuan pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, turmeric, fennel, or coriander.


Modern holidays are often derived from older and more ancient customs. Whatever the origin story of your favorite holiday is, these nights are always at their best when celebrated with great food and amazing company. Whether you are celebrating with the family or throwing a full party, make sure to take a moment to appreciate the people who made it all possible, and pay tribute to Samhain in your Halloween celebrations. You might be surprised by just how much it adds to your celebrations!

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