By: J. Pastore
Halloween is highly regarded as one of the most celebrated holidays, yet many don’t know the intricate story behind it. We all know it takes place on the 31st of October, but why specifically do we celebrate it at October’s end?
Let’s start at the beginning. Once recognized as a religiously symbolic holiday and now merely an emblem of pumpkin carving and trick or treating, Halloween traces back to its thousand-year-old origin at the Celtic festival of Samhain. On the day of November 1, the souls of the dead were believed to return to their homes, and the populace would dress in costumes to ward off these spiritual entities. Through this, the tradition of wearing costumes associated with goblins, zombies, ghosts, and witches was perpetuated. It was also popularly believed that the boundary between our world and the spiritual world became unusually thin, thus enabling communication between the living and the dead. The Celts were commonly known as being polytheistic, the belief in worshiping more than one God, in multiple deities, and it is for this reason that there are a myriad of early pagan holidays and ritualistic ceremonies.
Moving forth to the 7th century CE, Pope Boniface came through with the creation of All Saints Day, a religious Christian holiday to be celebrated originally on May 13th, but which was later passed on to November 1st via Pope Gregory the 3rd (maybe referencing to the holiday of Samhain). The day before All Saint's Day, October 31st, was the day in which the evening mass was held: All Hallows Eve - Hallow meaning “holy” or “saint” (as a noun). Despite its pagan inception, Pope Gregory the 4th officiallyized the celebration of All Saint’s Day in the universal Christian Calendar a century after Pope Gregory the 3rd changed the holiday from May 13th to November 1st. Furthermore, the only remnants of the Celtic communities at the origin of Samhain are numbered artifacts, not any written records.
The origins of the holiday, though very limited in its artifacts and having almost no written records, were first reported in the Celtic regions in Ireland, where it quickly spread to the countries of France and the United Kingdom shortly after. Irish immigrants fleeing after the events of the potato famine were custodians for the spread of Halloween in the 19th century and later in the 1800s, fall festivals in Southern colonies in the United States enjoyed the seasonal harvest that embodied Halloween traditions.
As of the 21st century, Halloween is a global phenomenon and a universally celebrated holiday. By the conventions of the ancient pagan colonies, perpetuated through religious and then cultural communities and ideologies, its traditions live vicariously through us, believers, and celebrators.
By: A. Bonde
Halloween is very prevalent in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It is said to have its roots in the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. However, the celebration has become widely influential, and different cultures have embraced and modified it in distinctive ways.
In Ireland, Halloween is a celebration that signals the conclusion of harvest season and the start of winter. The night of October 31st was thought to have caused a blurring of the lines separating the living and the dead, allowing ghosts to roam freely. People dressed up and built bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Similar Celtic customs blended over ages with Christian and Roman influences in the United Kingdom to produce celebrations like apple bobbing, a divination(supernatural) game connected to the Roman cult of Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees. The origins of trick-or-treating can be traced back to a British and Irish custom known as "souling," in which the poor would go door-to-door and perform songs for the dead in return for food or cash. These practices changed and spread to North America, where they turned into the modern Halloween traditions that are followed and beloved until this day.
Día de Los Muertos, a celebration that occurs in Mexico, can be considered a variation of Halloween where they honour the goddess Mictecacihuatl, also known as the Lady of the Dead, by ancient Mesoamerican societies including the Aztecs, and Toltecs. The celebrations were later modified and entwined with Catholicism following the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. The event now falls on All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Families prepare altars known as ofrendas for Día de Los Muertos, embellished with pictures, candles, calaveras de azúcar(sugar skulls), and souvenirs of the deceased. The idea is to greet the departed souls returning to this life so they can partake in the celebration and honour their lives. In addition to cleaning and decorating their loved ones' graves, families frequently have picnics at the gravesite where they exchange laughs, memories, and occasionally even musical selections.
Halloween in the Philippines is a unique fusion of deeply rooted local rituals and Western influences, much like in Mexico. One important feature is the custom of "Undas" or "Arawngmga Patay" (Day of the Dead), when families go to graves to honour their deceased loved ones. This custom typically entails lighting candles, decorating, and cleaning the graves, and presenting flowers and prayers. Families get together to reconnect with previous generations by reminiscing and sharing memories about their loved ones. Furthermore, cities, especially in shopping centers and business districts, welcome commercialized, Westernized Halloween. Similar to Western cultures, costume parties and trick-or-treating are popular among kids and offer a joyful and lively experience. These practices honour both traditional and modern Halloween celebrations, representing the diverse cultural background of the Philippines.
In conclusion, Halloween has grown beyond the US, Canada, Ireland, and the UK. Trick-or-treating and costume parties are celebrated worldwide, where each culture adds its own flair to the tradition. Mexico honours the fallen through the colourful Día de Los Muertos, while Ireland and the UK keep traditional practices like bonfires and apple bobbing. Inspired by native and Western influences, the Philippines blends tradition and commercial Halloween activities. These different versions reflect Halloween's cultural depth and flexibility worldwide, making it a beloved holiday to all.
By: I. Papa
The festivities of Halloween are something we all look forward to every year. The decorated houses, the costumes, the candy. Yet have you thought about how it came to be? After all, it is a holiday that promotes the idea of horror, but we have all gotten so used to it by now that it does not even seem the tiniest bit eerie.
Halloween’s roots come from more than 3,500 years ago, when at the end of summer, a Gaelic festival called the “Samhain” would occur, where people would light bonfires and dress up of all sorts of things intending to “ward off” ghosts and celebrate the end of harvest and a new year to come. It was typically celebrated on the 31st of October and the 1st of November, hence the day of Halloween. It was an unusual event, but it brought many traditions to our current days.
Later, fall festivals celebrating the end of harvest started incorporating Halloween themes to their festivities due to the costumes that were worn, including ghosts, goblins, witches, and other popular spooky season tropes. As the years went on, this became an even more frequent happening, and it was all slowly but effectively progressing into what we know today to be our cherished Halloween, in which everyone, from different areas of our world, adores and celebrates by decorating their houses with cobwebs, painting their faces, or trick-or-treating at night, dressed up from princesses to skeletons to clowns!
Even though Halloween comes from a story of years and years ago, it created a phenomenal world of sinister fantasy and even got the power to entitle the month of October as the “spooky season”. It’s astonishing, right? Who would’ve thought that a simple tradition celebrating the end of harvest would become such a world-famous and loved holiday? I sure wouldn’t. However, now that you do know the well-established story behind Halloween festivities, when October comes, I am certain that celebrating “spooky season” will be even more pleasurable.
By: C. Schulter
We are officially in Spooky Season! The time of the year where a collective enthusiasm fills us all and turns into people embracing all things eerie, macabre and mysterious. That doesn't annul the lighthearted and playful spirit that comes with this season that allows us to be however we want to be for one night during Halloween, from witches and ghosts to mermaids and princesses, all options are valid if you have fun. Culture plays a vital role in shaping this season according to each one's features and unique characteristics, therefore some of the amazing stories behind the most significant figures of Halloween might vary from country to country. With that being said, this article is going to tell you a little bit more about the different stories behind the Werewolf’s myth.
The legend of the werewolf originated in ancient Greece. At that time, the story told was that the werewolf was a dethroned king called Lycaon, who was punished by Zeus for being cruel and assassinating the travelers that would request shelter at his palace. In order to verify if such cruelty was true, Zeus disguised as a traveler went to Lycaon’s palace and requested shelter in his house. During supper, Zeus realized that out of evilness and pure sadism the king tried to serve him human meat. In all his anger Zeus destroyed the palace and cursed Lycaon by transforming him in a wolf king.
An interesting fact about it is that this legend has its place in the psychiatrist field. Lycanthropic syndrome, named after king Lycaon, was the name given to people who thoroughly believe that they can turn into some kind of animal.
That’s the Greeks take on the story of this mythical creature that is the werewolf. Now crossing the Atlantic Ocean and coming back to Brazilian ground, where the werewolf is a very important folkloric character, the story about its origin changes drastically. The legend brought by the Portuguese was popularized and shaped according to the different regions in this vast country. Its most popular story is that the werewolf would be the first son of couple that already has seven daughters, or the son of a woman that had affairs with a priest. The legend says that when these boys turn thirteen the curse begins, and every full moon phase at mid-night they would transform into a creature half man and half wolf, that goes around seeking for blood. The werewolf story is strongly based upon Catholicism, some of the strands of this myth in Brazil say that the werewolf would go after children that were not baptized, which would make people baptize their children, and some say that the only way to kill a werewolf is with a bullet dipped in candle wax from the altar of a church that had celebrated three Midnight Masses.
In both stories werewolves are hideous creatures, scary and spooky just like our season. There are still many other cultures with the most interesting stories about this significant figure, and if curious, it is highly recommended to you, dear reader, to research further in such a fun topic. I would like to conclude this article by wishing you the best of times, may this be spookiest season of them all.
By: A. Lotufo
You’ve definitely heard your parents tell you that your phone is the source of all your problems, including your motivation. But what would we notice if we didn’t take this advice for granted?
Every day, phones become are increasingly addicting with their developing technology. And we are in the middle of all of it – we are facing the age of information technology, where phones will basically be a part of our everyday lives forever.
According to the University of North Dakota, cell phones are a regular item in people’s everyday lives but “that attachment can become problematic”. They also say that “FoMO” (fear of missing out), can be related to the motivational factors.
Many people just scroll on TikTok, Instagram and other social medias while hours go by, and their motivation suddenly goes down. Why finish my homework when I can procrastinate and just watch Netflix instead? The more you stay online the more you will want to stay online. So, all you can do is try your best to stay away from your phone (or even add time limits if you want) and try to occupy yourself with different things.
If you’re into reading, this is your sign to start reading that book you wanted. If you’re into drawing, why not take an art class?
The more you stay away from electronic devices, the more your motivation will be boosted. However, balance is essential and over-occupying might lead to burn out. Sometimes all you need is to find a passion and head towards it.