What is halloween? You surely are aware of Halloween.
As a kid, you probably have grown scared of all those scary costumes.
You also could have fun and unforgettable trick or treat memories.
But you could not be familiar about the origin and the real nature of the occasion.
Thus, you could start asking yourself, ‘What really is Halloween?’
To begin with, Halloween could be traced to its ancient roots in the Celtic pagan feast of Samhain as well as the Christian holiday called All Saints’ Day.
Jack O Lanterns
In general, it could be considered as a secular celebration.
Some people have been expressing strong feelings for and against the perceived religious overtones.
The modern Halloween celebration in the United States was brought by Irish immigrants who took with them the tradition when they migrated to North America during the height of the Great Famine of Ireland in the 1840s.
Since then, Halloween has always been associated with orange and black, now known as the universal Halloween colors.
These are associated with the popular symbols like jack-o’ lantern. Aside from the decors, the colors, and the symbols,
Halloween has been made even more fun and interesting by the many activities that have created a unique modern tradition.
The occasion is now known for fun tasks like trick or treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, pranks, watching of horror movies, and reading of ghost stories.
Halloween has also become that time
of the year when people sit back and hear stories and anecdotes about
ghosts and paranormal encounters.
This notion has created a great scare among children, who now are changing gears and are seeing Halloween more as a fun celebration.
Current Halloween celebration could be traced back to ancient origins, particularly the Samhain, a Gaelic festival.
Samhain is an old Irish word that means ‘summer’s end.’
The same festival was also observed by ancient Britons who called their celebrations as Calan Gaeaf.
Samhain commemorates the end of the year’s lighter half and the start of the darker half. Thus, some people then called the occasion as their ‘Celtic New Year.’
Nowadays, Halloween could be seen more as a festival for the dead.
Ancient Gaels have always believed that Samhain borders the otherworld with this world.
Thus, there was a belief that during Halloween, free spirits roam around, both harmful and harmless.
This could be somehow related to Christians’ All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
It has also been believed that wearing freaky masks and costumes was an effective way to ward off unwanted and harmful spirits.
Samhain was also regarded as a great time to stock food supplies and at the same time slaughter livestock.
Bonfires have become important because they played significant roles in the Halloween festivities.
In the old Irish practice, all fires at home were doused during the day and every home was lit only by the hearth from their own bonfire.
Slaughtered livestock bones were cast into those fires.
There were also several other pagan rituals associated with old Halloween practices that have not been carried out to this day.