History And Origin of Halloween

Published Date: October 15th, 2006
Category: Holiday Fun

by: Sean Carter

Halloween has its history and origin way back in antiquity, in the Celtic New Year’s festival Samhain. Now Halloween and its various aspects have evolved over time. If you’re interested in digging out the roots of Halloween in detail, you got to read its history and origin.

Halloween is that time of the year that’s absolutely freakish and screamingly fun. A time when the line between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest and you’re sure to feel the freak and scare with ghosts, goblins, witches and werewolves prowling all around both in their selves and in costumes. Halloween is an occasion to let loose the naughtier sides in you—playing pranks, sprucing up in freaky costumes and scaring the wits out of your folks. The chill of rib-tickling thrill, a nip of spine-chilling jitters and a good fare of full-blooded scare is at the heart of Halloween celebrations.

Now today’s Halloween isn’t the same as it was 2000 years ago. The history and origin of Halloween lie way back in centuries in the ancient Celtic New Year’s festival, Samhain. So much so that the customs of today’s Halloween are also rooted in the ancient customs of the Celts during Samhain, which was said to mark the end of Summer. Samhain, the Celtic New Year was celebrated every year on October 31—the day, which the Celts believed, was a day of the rise of the dead, when the deceased would wander the land to possess earthly souls. To keep these spirits at bay, the Celts dressed up as ghouls and monsters and put out all lights in their homes. With that, they ventured out as mischievous and wayward undoers willfully wantoning peace and property. The Celtic priests or Druids also built bonfires on this day and offered sacrifices. The idea behind all these was, of course, to scare away the spirits of the dead and avoid being “possessed” ! Now if you’re brainy enough, it won’t be hard for you to guess that the modern tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween traces back to this ancient Celtic practice !

The sinister attitudes of the Celts on Samhain toned down over the ages to give way to the less menacing attributes of today’s Halloween. The playfulness and fun side of Halloween was first brought to America by the Irish immigrants around 1840. Like for instance, the popular tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween came from the Irish. This had been ‘gifted’ to the United States by the Irish immigrants who fled their country during the potato famine. The Irish celebration of Halloween or the Hallow E’en (evening of the Hallow), as it’s called in Ireland, means All Hallows Eve, or the night before the ‘All Hallows’.

All Hallows Day is on November 1, and is also known as All Saint’s Day (a day to honor all the Catholic saints). ‘Hallow’ is an Old English word, meaning ‘saint’. November 2 is the All Soul’s Day—a day which honors all Christians who no longer live and were not saints. And the period of October 31 to November 2 is known as the Hallow Tide. Now, on All Hallows Eve or Halloween, the Irish beggars went asking for food or money from the rich. If refused, they were threatened to be destroyed by the evil spirits. And, of course, nobody wants to take a chance on Halloween. So soul-cakes or currant buns and candy bags chockablock with goodies were kept ready for the Halloween Day.

About The Author
Sean Carter writes for 123greetings on a variety of Holidays and events . You can find more information on Halloween at http://www.123greetings.com/events/halloween

Additionally,  modern day Halloween has also brought some new traditions to the table as well as variations on old ones. Visiting haunted houses is a more modern tradition that most likely started as a commercial venture and often works as a way to raise money for non-profit organizations. While dressing in costumes for this day dates back thousands of years, today we see an insurgence of Halloween costumes inspired by popular culture, such as movie stars or politicians. Americans tend to see more humorous costumes than scary ones in the current times.

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