Coligny (Celtic) Calendar, the origin of Halloween

The Coligny calendar was found in Coligny, Ain, France in 1897. The lunisolar calendar can be seen at the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon. It was engraved on a bronze tablet, preserved in 73 fragments, that was originally about 5 feet wide by 3½ feet in height. Based on the style of lettering and the accompanying objects, it probably dates to the end of the 2nd century CE. It is written in Latin inscriptional capitals and is in the Gaulish language. The restored tablet contains sixteen vertical columns, with 62 months distributed over five years.The calendar year began with Samonios, which is usually assumed to correspond to Old Irish Samhain, giving an autumn start to the new year.

Samhain was seen as a time when the ‘door’ to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. It has thus been likened to a festival of the dead. People also took steps to protect themselves from harmful spirits, which is thought to have led to the custom of disguising themselves in costume as ghouls and spooks to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering about during this time.