The History of Halloween, by Ronald Hutton
- Online talk
The History of Halloween
A Folklore Society Online Talk, by
Prof. Ronald Hutton (University of Bristol)
Tuesday 18 July 2023, 18:00 BST
Halloween is usually regarded as the creepiest festival of the modern year, a celebration of witchcraft, phantoms and images of fear which comes down to us from a remote a murky pagan past. This talk addresses the following questions about this tradition. How old and how pagan is Halloween? Was it the ancient pagan feast of the dead, and the Celtic New Year? What role does it play in the modern world, and should it still be celebrated?
Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs. He is also the leading historian of the ritual year in Britain and of modern paganism. Among his many publications, recent ones include: Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe (Yale University Press, 2022); ‘The Wild Hunt in the Modern British Imagination,’ (Folklore, 2019); ‘The Meaning of the Word “Witch”‘ (Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, 2018).
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