The scary and superstitious festival of Halloween was started by the Celtics and celebrated every year on October 31. Halloween, a festival to honor the dead and deceased, is regarded as one of the oldest festivals brought into existence in the world. Marked with much joy and enthusiasm in the United States and Canada, it is the highest celebrated occasion, after Christmas in the US. Though the festival is now prominent in other parts of the world, if anyone is unaware of what Halloween is, know-how about the symbols of Halloween would be the best idea. Several symbols have been associated with the scary imagery and haunting manifestations of this supernatural holiday of the ancient times. The most popular symbols of Halloween include vampires, bats, ghosts, witches, graves, skeletons, jack-o'-lanterns, black cats, and monsters. Let's look at the significance of each symbol with Halloween in the following lines.
Meaning of Halloween Symbols
Due to their nocturnal lifestyle, bats and owls are regarded as omens of bad luck and evil. Hence, they form one of the major symbols of Halloween. Since ancient times, bats are indicative of the presence of spirits or ghosts, particularly the famous vampire bat that feeds on the blood of other animals. It is a common superstition to associate a flying bat around the house on Halloween with oncoming death in the same household. Nevertheless, red bats are regarded as symbols of long life and amulets in China, and hence, are often worn as lucky charms by most people. Five red bats are believed to represent five good fortunes of health, longevity, love, wealth, and virtue.
Pumpkins or Jack-O'-Lanterns
An American twist on the ancient Celtic tradition of carrying hollowed veggies as candle holders and lanterns, the jack-o'-lanterns or pumpkins are common symbols of Halloween. The orange color of the pumpkins is the color of fire, linked with creating change and bringing about action. The lit candles placed inside the pumpkins signify power of illumination - spreading light to the darkness in the souls and minds of the people.
Mistress of the occult, witches are believed to be supernatural beings with powers of performing rituals, evoking magic, and concocting formulas and spells to connect and speak with the spirits. Legend has it that witches assemble on two occasions round the year, on April 30 - the eve of May Day, and on the eve of October 31 - All Hallow's Eve. They are believed to arrive on broomsticks, transform themselves into different forms, and cast spells on innocent people using their magical mischief.
Graves, graveyards, and coffins - all denote death and dead ancestors. As such, gravestones are the place where the world of the living can meet the world of the dead. In early days, grave markers and gravestones were rocks and boulders, heavy enough to prevent the dead from rising back from their graves. Images of pain, torment, and eternal damnation were carved on gravestone markers to frighten the living and keep them away from such places.
Symbol of the supernatural, black cats are yet another common icon of Halloween. Initially associated with benevolent goddesses, black cats were eventually branded as evil and deemed demonic, during the inquisition. Also, the color black itself is regarded as the color of midnight and evil. In the Middle Ages, when the cat was connected with the witches, the black cat was correlated with misfortune and bad omens.
Skull and Crossbones
Once seen at different sign boards, a skull with crossbones signifies caution of danger, death, and disease. While the skull represents the receptacle used in the process of transformation, the bones symbolize death. As such, the skull and crossbones, together, characterize poison and danger to pirates. Similarly, the skeletons are associated with the spirits who walk down on earth on Halloween.
Just like bats, owls are also nocturnal animals, related to witches at Halloween, in particular. There was a time when owls were linked with goddesses, wisdom, mystery, and the Underworld. Eventually, they came to be associated with black magic and are believed to swoop down on Halloween and feed on the souls of the dying.
Several things are symbolic to the holiday of Halloween. Explore this article to learn the symbols of Halloween festival.