The Real Meaning of Halloween

Halloween to most of us means candy, costumes and trick-or- treating. For New Yorkers it means one of the biggest parades of the year – hundreds of thousands of people congregate in Greenwich Village in elaborate costumes. You can even see it on national television.

Hallows or Hallomas started out as a festival to honor the Crone, -the wise grandmother. Over the years it has been transformed into wicked old witches flying on broomsticks with black cats. Even the cauldron has changed meaning as it represented the womb of the Goddess -a symbol of rebirth. Did you know that the idea of going from door to door to ask for candy and sweets actually comes from a British custom of asking for money for the poor?

When the Christian Church took over the holiday they renamed it Halloween (hallowed eve) The Celtic name is Samhain -summers end – and is the beginning of the Celtic New Year.  Hallowed means holy and this is a sacred time for honoring our ancestors.  For many cultures this is a time when the ancestors return to visit and communicate with the living. In Latin America, El Dia del las Muertes is celebrated at the cemetery. Families sweep the graves, bring food, create altars and celebrate the ancestors. In Ireland, people believe that the fairy people come out on this special night as the veil is lifted. Christians all over the world celebrate All Souls Day and All Saints Day (November 1 and 2).

In the true spirit of Halloween, let us take some time to honor our ancestors and to share their gifts with our children. Make this Halloween a time to honor our elders- send them a card, take them out to dinner or just say,” I love you”. Collect money, toys and food and give it to those who are more unfortunate as we count our blessings.

Barbara Biziou, author of the Joy of Rituals, is a Global Ritual Expert and Spiritual Life Coach. Her greatest passion is to inspire, empower and support people going through all of life's transitions with easy-to-access rituals and spiritual practices that make life richer, easier and more meaningful.

Barbara Biziou is a former television and fashion executive who left her corporate career nearly 20 years ago, when she realized her larger calling was to enrich others with the intelligence she amassed from her global travels and deep, meaningful work with gurus and spiritual masters. Something of an "urban priestess", her practice as a transfomational catalyst, leader, and spiritual life coach motivates clients to live to their fullest potential and drives seismic makeovers, inside and out.

The two-time author (The Joy of Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals) has synthesized the perfect mix of ancient modalities and neuropsychology with a contemporary point of view. "I call my work ritual fusion," explains Biziou, whose offerings include immersive workshops, one-on-one guidance, custom rituals (weddings, fertility, finding love, healing, space clearings, theater blessings and prosperity & success), and corporate consulting, where she brings meditation, spirituality, communication exercises and emotional intelligence to offices around the world.

Barbara's client roster includes the International Red Cross, Coca-Cola, Equinox Gym, Morgan Stanley, Lord & Taylor, Daryl Roth Productions, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center and Weight Watchers. She has been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Oprah.com. She has also appeared on television shows on CBS, NBC, FX and the Hallmark Channel.

Her personal spiritual practice and studies began over 30 years ago with Native American elders, who taught her traditions that transcend time. From India, Bali and Hawaii to South America, the Celtic lands of Northern Europe and more, Barbara Biziou has woven together a m'lange of belief systems and techniques with a personal touch that gives others the tools to bring their desires to life.

Barbara Biziou lives in New York City and works around the world.