Meow baby! Halloween and the black cat

Image of Francisco Javier Garcia Lara. Credit: @fuengirola

THE association of black cats with Halloween is relatively recent.

Halloween came out of the ancient Celtic summer’s end festival called Samhain. Celts believed it was a time when the barrier between the living and the dead was temporarily lifted.

They would wear ‘ghostly’ costumes to make them appear dead so as to keep troublemaking spirits from bothering them.

Later on Christians would go door to door with a hollow turnip ‘lantern’ – after the Americas were discovered the pumpkin was used – to symbolize the souls in purgatory.

In the Middle Ages, the cat became associated with witches and witchcraft and the Celtic Druids were considered to be witches, hence the link.

Many cats were burnt during medieval witch hunts and just owning a cat was sometimes considered a crime.

In Greek mythology, a woman named Galenthias was turned into a cat and became a priestess at the temple of Hecate, who was known as the mother of witchcraft.

Around the time of the Second World War when the American tradition of trick-or-treat got underway, cats became a big part of the holiday decoration, but this time they were considered a good luck charm.

A black cat at ones door was thought to scare away any evil critters that might come a’calling.

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