By our best guesses, Halloween may be older than Christianity. In those days, it was a Celtic pagan festival called “Samhain,” a time when the barriers between the land of the living and the dead blurred.
Little is recorded of how Samhain was celebrated, and so we’ve had to gather what we know from legends and secondhand accounts. The details paint the picture of some dark and unnerving rituals and of something very different from the holiday we celebrate today.
10.The Ritualistic Murder Of Kings
In the bogs of Ireland, dead bodies have been found, still perfectly preserved. Their skin is covered in a thick layer of black peat that has kept the flesh from decomposing. The faces they wore in life are the same today, hundreds of years after their death, and even the hairs on their heads are still intact.
Many of the bodies aren’t there by chance. Archaeologists believe that these bodies are the remnants of a ceremonial sacrifice. Clothes and grooming reveal that these dead were of the ruling class, fitting into legends about the ritualistic murder of kings committed on Samhain.
If the year was a hard one, tormented by plagues or famines, the people would hold the kings responsible. The failed king would be sacrificed and replaced, and his body would be thrown into the bog.