By: B Sapoznik
Halloween is a worldwide tradition that has become more and more popular throughout the years. This festival occurs on the 31st of October each year and is themed based on fear and horror. This holiday now impacts the whole world, and every year gets more exciting. However, when was Halloween created? Who came up with the holiday? Where and why did it originate?
Halloween is a festivity that was created by the Celtics (a community from Britain, Ireland, Spain, and France) which nowadays are more recognized throughout the British/Irish mainland (including Scotland and Wales). Around 2,000 years ago, the Celtics created a tradition to mark a new era of the year. It was the end of the old harvest and the introduction of winter, which was a ‘dark time’ of the year.
This tradition was called Samhain, which celebrated winter and was originally placed on the 1st of November. Samhain was not only used to mark the start of winter but also a festival to bring peace and safety to the Celtic people. Therefore, in Samhain, the tradition for the festival was to light huge bonfires and wear scary costumes. The people believed these acts would scare off ghosts and evil spirits, bringing them safety for the winter.
As time passed by, Samhain started to be celebrated on the 31st of October (1 day prior to the original date) because the tradition was meant to bring safety before winter. Additionally, the Christian ‘All Saints Day’ is commemorated on November 1st, 1 day after Samhain. All Saints Day was also called All Hallows Day (hallow is commonly linked to saints or holy figures), and since Samhain is the Eve of All Hallows Day, it mixed up through time to become Halloween (Hallows Eve).
A common tradition of Halloween is Jack-O-Lanterns; carved pumpkins that are lit up with expressions on their surface. This tradition was introduced by the Irish and was intended to scare off Jack’s soul. Jack was another evil soul that the Celtics wanted to scare away during the winter due to its connotations with hell and the devil. Over time, many Halloween festivities have changed. Now that Halloween has spread worldwide to all communities in all countries, modern-day society no longer lights bonfires to frighten ghosts, though the casual tradition of costumes and the terror-like theme remains the same from 2,000 years ago.