Halloween is an annual holiday on October 31 celebrated in many countries around the world. Also called the All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Eve, it is the Christian feast paying homage to saints. The word Halloween is the shortened term for Allhalloween and the day is observed to pay respects to the departed souls, martyrs and faithful believers, saints. It is mostly celebrated by the Western Christians, as a belief to pray for the souls who have not reached heaven. While pop culture celebrations may associate it with a pumpkin, spooky dressing and children playing trick or treat, there is more to the festival. Let us tell you the historical origins and how the celebrations have evolved of this festival.
Date and Significance of Halloween
The earliest known roots of the festival are in the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain. The end of October is when the seasons changed. But most observers believed that the boundaries dividing the present and past world became thinner, thus making it easier for them to connect with the dead. So October 31 is marked as Halloween. It was believed that ghosts visited the Earth on this day. North Dakota Woman’s Early ‘Help Me’ Halloween Decorations Are So Scary That Neighbours Called the Police.
Origin of Halloween
The earliest celebration or observance of Halloween is traced to folk culture of the Celtic-speaking countries about 2000 years ago. The area is known as present-day Ireland, UK and Northern France. It was end of harvest time and the beginning of dark, cold weather which many associated with death. With pagan rituals and connections, it involved connecting with the spirits. So in celebrating the festival, the Celts wore costumes (typically made of animal hide), organised special feasts and made lanterns out of carving on gourds. As Christianity took over, the Pagan rituals faded, but the spooky relevances and traditions were part of pop culture.
Celebrations of Halloween
The celebrations of the festival were very different in the earlier days. There used to huge be sacred bonfires and people gathered around to burn crops and animals as sacrifice. For this celebration, they adorned in special costumes and also made an attempt to tell each other's fortune. This was an important factor of them, who entirely depended on prophecies for the future. This bonfire was also meant to protect them from the winter.
Another important part of their celebrations was the apple bobbing tradition. It involved the young unmarried women picking up an apple with their teeth, that was floating into water. Whoever picks up the apple first would get married. Halloween 2018 Costumes: This Dress on Ghosting is a Hit on Social Media!
Halloween Costumes, Pumpkin and Trick-or-Treat
The popularity of Halloween grew when the Irish immigrated to other parts due to the bad weather spells. In America, Halloween is the second largest celebration after Christmas. It became more about community spirit. When people migrated to North America, they started using pumpkin to carve out shapes and faces. It became more popular when people started lighting them up and using them as decorations.
Dressing up for Halloween was common since the 16th century and it only became prominent as it spread across. People dressed up in scary outfits to become souls of the dead. Now it has evolved into parties and competitions about who adorns a scary outfit. Halloween has become into more of fun and play with the advent of pop culture.
The Trick or Treat started in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. People here dressed up and went door-to-door for food. They would play songs, sing poems in exchange for the food they got. It actually goes back to the All Souls' Day which was celebrated on November 2. So the idea was to receive 'soul cakes' in return of promise to pray for the dead in the family. Over the 19th century, it evolved into a tradition of children playing pranks on people to get sweets in return.
Although the festival has Celtic origins, it has reached far and wide. Over the years, Halloween is celebrated in all countries including India. Have you decided upon your Halloween costume, parties or celebrations?