Why is Halloween Celebrated?
Halloween is the most looked forward day by the children. This day falls on the 31st of October each year. This day is said to have been born from a festival of the Celtics known as the Samhain, a day before Samhain all the ghosts would come back and that night was known as ‘All Hallows Eve’ which later came to be known as Halloween. In the past years, Halloween has been a time where people dress up in evil costumes (Mostly), or other cartoonish costumes and children go house to house for what is known as Trick-or-Treating. Halloween in 2018 is to fall on the 31st of October which is a Wednesday.
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When is Halloween Day?
The following are the days of the week that Halloween falls on:
|2017||Tuesday, October 31|
|2018||Wednesday, October 31|
|2019||Thursday, October 31|
|2020||Saturday, October 31|
History of Halloween
The history of Halloween goes back a long time, almost 2000 years back to a festival named Samhain (Sow-in) celebrated by the Celtics to bid farewell to harvest time and warmth.
The Celtic people believed that a day before Samhain, the dead came back in the form of ghosts and also the layer between the world of the dead and the living was the weakest.
People would pray for the dead and leave food outside to prevent them from entering their homes. To drive away the spirits, they burnt born fires.
In the 8th century, when the Romans ruled the Celt lands, the Christian church turned this day of the Celtics into the day known as All Saints Day in honour of the all the Saints.
The day also came to be known as All Hallows Day and the day before which is the 31st of October came to be known as All Hallows eve later changed to Halloween.
The very first celebration of Halloween in the US was filled with parties and events where people danced sang and told stories about the dead. But this festival hit the country only in the 19th century.
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Symbols related to Halloween
These are one of the most famous symbols of Halloween. Skeletons are said to symbolise the connection between the world of the dead and the living.
Witches are also a famous character that many people dress up as on Halloween. Witches are believed to have supernatural powers and a link between the living and the dead.
Other symbols are spider webs, bats, Skulls, ghosts and basically anything that is scary and either dead or just creepy.
The Orange Pumpkin (Jack-O-Lantern)
In Ireland, the people first used turnips instead of Pumpkins. They would make the turnips hollow from inside and then carve scary faces on it in an attempt to scare and chase away the ghosts that arrived on that day.
Some of them would even put candles inside and leave these carved vegetables outside their doors or windows.
Only in the 1800s did the tradition of Jack-O-Lantern start when few Irish people migrated to the US and found the big pumpkins which were much easier to work with than pumpkins and since then it has become a tradition.
Trick-or-treating is an event that basically makes Halloween. This famous act comes from old traditions like Souling and Guising followed in medieval Britain. The Irish immigrants modified these traditions to give us what we call trick-or-treating.
On November 2nd which was celebrated as an ‘All souls day’, the poor and needy went begging for an item known as Soul bread in return for which they would pray for their dead relatives or loved ones. This process was called Souling.
Young children dressed up in different costumes and entertain the people with singing and poetry in return accepting items like money, wine and food
El Dia de Los Muertos vs Halloween
Many people confuse these two days and let me tell you they are not the same.
Halloween is a day to drive away the ghosts, a day that falls before the holy day whereas El Dia Los Muertos is a day in Latin America to celebrate the day when the loved ones visit their family from the land of the dead and unite spiritually.
Traditions on Halloween
- In Ireland, during the 18th century, a cook would hide a ring in mashed potatoes hoping to bring true love into the lives whoever found it
- One tradition stated that whoever was the first to bob an apple from the tree would be the first to get married
- Carving scary faces on pumpkins and decorating the house with them
- Apple Bobbing: taking a bite of an apple placed in a bowl without using your hands
- Wearing spooky costumes or dressing up as someone else
- Going for a session of trick-or-treating around your neighbourhood
Facts about Halloween
- Dressing up as ghosts was actually a way to hide from the spirits during the ancient times
- The day’s colours are black and orange. Black is to signify death and orange for the autumn leaves and harvest
- Trick-or-treating is derived from the tradition of selling and guising
- Americans spend almost $6 million on Halloween every year