New data has revealed that a number of folk across Bury will be celebrating Halloween today, Tuesday, regarding it as one of the most important festivals on the Wiccan calendar.

Census data revealed that around 32 people in Bury identify as witches, selecting Wicca as their religion, with this number increasing from 27 in the 2011 census.

The religion developed in England during the first half of the 20th century with its name deriving from the Old English "wicca" and "wicce", the masculine and feminine term for witch.

Bury Times:

While the witch population has not soared, there has been a 30 per cent rise in pagans - from 56,600 people in 2011 to over 73,700 in 2021.

In Bury, 167 people said they were pagan in 2021.

Read more: What is Halloween? How it began and why its celebrated

Separately, the number of people selecting Witchcraft as their religion has fallen from nearly 1,300 in 2011 to under 1,100 in the recent census.

The figures show two people selected Witchcraft as their religion in Bury in 2021.

Halloween, which has roots in paganism, originated from the Celtic celebration of Samhain that marked the end of summer and the beginning of the winter.

Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on this night.

Read more: Radcliffe neighbours throw spooky Halloween bash in alleyway

Celtic priests would build bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

Eventually, the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands and All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day – or All-hallows – was created, incorporating some of the original pagan traditions.

To celebrate the days, people would light bonfires, throw parades and costume as saints, angels and devils.

Bury Times:

Satanism is also on the rise across the nations with nearly 5,100 people identifying as Satanists in the recent census – more than doubling from 1,900 a decade prior.

Read more: What is the age limit for trick or treating at Halloween UK?

Despite the name, not all Satanists believe in a literal Lucifer. Instead, it is often a metaphor for questioning authority and rejecting mainstream religion.

In Bury, 20 people said they were Satanists.

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