Every year on Halloween we carve pumpkins, dress up wearing scary outfits, do the trick or treat thing and bob for apples but have you ever wondered why do we do this? Has it ever occurred to your mind that this holiday is more than just a festival that comes by every year? Do you know the history of it? Which country did Halloween originate from? Well, that’s what we are going to tell you about here to understand the concept of this day in a better way and know the purpose of why it is celebrated every year.
Where did Halloween Come From?
Halloween is celebrated by millions of people in various countries as a fun time for kids as well as the elders by wearing scary outfits and costumes and going door to door in the neighborhood to get candy. The word Halloween is derived from the word All Hallows Eve that occurred on 31st October. All Hallows Day or All Saints Day was the next day i.e. 1st November which is why it occurs on the eve of All Saints Day.
The question still arises that where did this festival originate from? Some people say that the origins of it started from and can be traced back to the time to the ancient “Ireland and Scotland” during the time of the Christ. On 31st October, the Celts celebrated it because they believed that it was the time of the crop harvests, as well as the animal herders would move their animals and prepare to ride out because of the change in the season. This yearly change of season from autumn to winter and the change in the lifestyle due to the weather was marked by a particular festival famously known as Samhain which means end of summer.
The Celts believed that 1st November was their New Years and the time when the season changed from autumn to winter. Not only this, but it was also that time of the year where they actually believed that the cover between the living and the dead is at their thinnest (carm). Wondering what does that have to do with Halloween? Well, according to them this meant that the dead could hang out with those who are alive. Sounds creepy, no?
This is the reason why the Celts had a festival known as Samhain, where they believed that during this time of the year the people who died would move to another world. So to help them get to their actual destination, the living people would dress up and lit up fires to honor the dead and make their journey an easy one, also to keep them away from the living.
Now you must be wondering what Samhain has to do with Halloween, well, it doesn’t end here…
In the early times, Christians wanted to change the concept and religious practices of the Celts, particularly about Samhain. But rather than completely destroying their idea of Samhain, they thought of transforming it and bring in few changes to its idea. Now how did they change the whole concept is the next most important thing. The Christian missionaries started off by saying it to the Celts that worshipping the super naturals and the dead is demonic and evil which is scary and then they put up the new Christian holiday on 1st November as the All Saints Day (discoverykids). The change in the name also brought the change in the concept of worshipping. Instead of worshipping the dead, everyone was now supposed to worship the saints on 1st of November on the festival of Samhain. But this change didn’t work and All Saints Day became All Hallows and it was the night before the All Hallows, the eve of All Hallows where the people continued with their idea of celebrating in the spirit of Samhain as a time of wandering dead.
Later on, this All Hallows Eve turned out to be Hallow Evening which then became the now known Halloween. In other words, we can say that the celebration of the Celts in the ancient and Pre – Christian times lost its charm and main context over the last thousands of years and turned into the modernly known Halloween – one of the largest secular holidays of today’s time.
From Ireland, United Kingdom and Northern France, the celebration then made its way to United States of America. Initially, the celebration was only limited to the colonial England but as the customs, ideas and beliefs of the European groups and Americans began to emerge, a new American version was out. Later on, when the immigrants began to enter America, mainly English and Irish, they brought in with them the celebration of this day (history). Americans began to dress up in scary costumes and went door to door for money or food which is today known as the trick or treat concept.
Halloween has always been that holiday which is filled with mysteries, superstitions and magic. One may think that it is just for kids but it’s not. There’s more to this festival than just trick and treating. And with that it doesn’t mean that we have to put this holiday behind us entirely. There’s so much more to do on this day especially for adults. Some of the options are that you can either watch a scary movie, carve pumpkins if you want to do something which requires physical activity, watch a season of American Horror Story, go bobbing for apples, hit up a haunted house with your friends or even better alone, bake a candy cake or hand out candy.
So now that we know where did Halloween come from and what is it all about, what have you planned on doing for this year’s Halloween?