What is Halloween? Wondering what HALLOWEEN is all about? If yes, here is a post that teaches everything you need to know about Halloween. Continue reading below.
Halloween or Hallowe’en, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.
Halloween is one of the spookiest holidays, it is a time for trick and treating, costume parties, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, bonfires, haunted houses and my favorite horror films.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III made November 1 a day to honour saints and martyrs.
To keep the peace with the pagans, he made sure All Saints’ Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain.
The day before, October 31, became known as All Hallows’ Eve. And over time, this evolved into a secular event called Halloween.
Americans adopted the Halloween celebration when the Irish potato famine in 1846 led to mass migration to the States.
People began to dress up in costumes and go to their neighbour’s houses to ask for money or food – which has since evolved into modern-day trick or treating.
The day was then moulded into a community celebration, in a move away from ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.
Halloween is the season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, asking for candy and scaring one another silly. Spooky stories are told around fires, scary movies appear in theaters and pumpkins are expertly (and not-so-expertly) carved into jack-o’-lanterns.
And this year, creepy clowns seem to be doing some real terrorizing: In August, locals in Greenville, South Carolina, reported a clown who was allegedly trying to lure children into the woods; then in September, a teen reported a knife-wielding clown in Summitville, Tennessee. Local and state officials in many areas are urging people to report suspicious clown sightings. And in South Florida, some stores are pulling clown costumes from their shelves and Broward County police are advising people not to dress up as the masked grinners, according to the Miami Herald.
Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, according to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries. [13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained]
Because ancient records are sparse and fragmentary, the exact nature of Samhain is not fully understood, but it was an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. Samhain is also thought to have been a time of communing with the dead, according to folklorist John Santino.
“There was a belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the other world,” Santino told Live Science. Such moments of transition in the year have always been thought to be special and supernatural, he added.
Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, Santino said. People dress up as the living dead, and fake gravestones adorn front lawns — activities that wouldn’t be tolerated at other times of the year, he said.
But according to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night” (Oxford University Press, 2003), “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship.
“According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld,” Rogers wrote. Samhain was less about death or evil than about the changing of seasons and preparing for the dormancy (and rebirth) of nature as summer turned to winter, he said.
Though a direct connection between Halloween and Samhain has never been proven, many scholars believe that because All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Mass, celebrated on Nov. 1) and Samhain, are so close together on the calendar that they influenced each other and later combined into the celebration now called Halloween.
So let up keep and light up the spirit of tricking and treating. That is it on What is Halloween?
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