Halloween, like Christmas, Easter and other holidays, is rooted in antiquity. And like other holidays, the origns of Halloween are obscured by the passing of time.
Halloween has something elese in common with popular holidays. It has evolved over the years and aside from the name is almost completely removed from its beginnings.
In the 7th century CE Pope Boniface IV issued a degree creating All Saints’ Day. It was orignially observed in mid May, but a century later the date was moved to November 1. This was an attempt by the church to replace pagan holiday celebrations with a Christian festival. The night before All Saints’ Day was sanctified as all Hallow’s Eve or Halloween.
Many early European cultures held a fall festival that marked the dawn of a new year. As an example, the ancient Celts that lived in modern Britain and Ireland celebrated the festival of Samhain around November 1.
The festival marked the beginning of winter, and the beginning of a new year. The belief was that the souls of people that had died returned to their earthly homes, and those who had died that year commenced their journey to the other world. Bonfires were lit on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. And to avoid being recognized by ghosts people wore disguises.
Many of these fall festivities included beer and brewing. As woman were often revered as the healers of their communities, they had knowledge about plants, herbs and fermenting that had been passed down for generations. And that was usually the reason they were tasked with the brewing of beers for the fall celebrations.
It was also the reason that some cultures believed godesses, not gods, were the deities that brought fermentation to mankind. The Finnish clans believed that it was the goddess Kalvetar who brought beer to Earth. The Vikings let only women, known as brewsters, to brew the “aul” that was the drink to celebrate victories, and the fall harvest fest.
By the late Middle Ages the church had instituted restrictions the prohibited women from brewing beer. But brewing was a tradition that refused to die, and so many women continued making beer at home in large cauldrons. According to legend, these brewers would hang a broomstick over their door as a code to indicate that beer was being sold.
To counter this underground network of breweries, propaganda campaigns that claimed ingredients were added as part of magical spells, ceremonies and incantations were launched. Linked with this were literal witch hunts.
The full moon figures prominently in historic and traditional Halloween celebrations. And so it is fitting that Mudshark Brewing in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, one of the states premier craft breweries, has a little something special that is befitting the holiday.
The brewery’s Full Moon is perfect for watching an Arizona sunset, sharing an evening with friends, or celebrating Halloween. This wheat beer with a rich golden color, and hint of orange peel and coriander, could be considered a link to a time when beer was brewed in cauldrons, and sold in houses with a broomstick over the door.