Here comes October 31st… Hurray! It’s Halloween Time
An evening before the Christian feast of All Saint’s Day, we celebrate Halloween. The word Halloween comes from Hallowe’en, meaning “hallowed evening” or holy evening.
Around the world, as winter arrives with days growing shorter and nights getting colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats on the eve of Halloween. But do we know the history of the origin of Halloween. Let’s look at it briefly.
Ancient Origin of Halloween
The ancient origin of Halloween is a lesser known facts as generally people of current time relate this festival with:
- Trick or Treating
- carving jack-o-lanterns
- Bobbing for Apples
- A family friendly celebration
2000 years ago, there was an ancient festival called ‘SAMHAIN’ which was celebrated on 1st November. But on the night of 31st October, people believed that all those who died the previous year returned as ghosts. People kept food and wine near the door of their houses to keep the roaming spirits at bay. Not only this, people wore masks so that they may be mistaken for ghosts.
The Samhain festival was renamed as ‘All Saints Day’ by Christians in the 8th centrury. And one night before i.e. the night of 31st, became the All Hallows’ Eve now called Halloween.
In fact, the carving of pumpkins originated from the Samhain festival, when Gaels would carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses.
There is another tradition followed on 2nd November called All Soul’s Day. Ladies decked with specific pastry called ‘soul cakes’ prays for dead relatives and deceased.
Trick-or-treating probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. People dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.
A Big Business
Today, Halloween is a big business. It is estimated that Americans spend around $6 billion on this each year. This has become the 2nd most commercial holiday time after Christmas. It’s not only celebrated in Western part of the world, but many Asian countries have started being a part of it in current time. However, Halloween has become more of a festival of fun for kids. Children of various ages dress up as little monsters, ghosts or witches. The custom of adults dressing up as demons changed is gradually being taken over by the children and kids merrily move from house to house and knock at each door for “trick or treat”. Happy Halloween!!!