The Origins of Halloween
By: J. Nemr
Whether you celebrate Halloween by dressing up, dressing down, enjoying all the candy that comes with it or simply watching a horror movie from the comfort of your couch, it is quite likely that throughout the years you have questioned what is beyond all the traditional costumes and myriad of pumpkins. Why do people go trick or treating? When was it first celebrated and what must be uncovered about the most spine-chilling season of the year?
October 31st is known for being the date in which we celebrate Halloween but what most people do not know is that originally, the holiday was supposed to honor to the dead, and All Hallows Eve - as it was originally named - dates back to more than 2000 years ago. This holiday was created by the Pagans a day before All Saints Day, a holiday created by the Christians on the 1st of November to convert all Pagans (also known as Heathens), into legitimate Christians as the Church believed they were not real “soldiers of Christ”. This is because they did not present any traditions that glorified the Church or religious matters and therefore, had to be converted.
These traditions and practices can be traced back to the ancient Celtic celebrations of Samhain, meaning “summer's end”. It was also the last day on the Celtic calendar and a harvest festival which the Celtics believed to be sacred due to the fact that it marked the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. The habit of leaving gifts and treats were embraced to pacify villages and streets at night as people believed the souls of the dead roamed around after hours. This tradition evolved into what we know today as trick-or-treating. Due to the Church’s discontent, the festival of Samhain was banished by the time of the Catholic persecution of witchcraft, even though the festival did not celebrate or worship anything resembling the Christian devil.
Nowadays, it is evident that Halloween is celebrated with diverse customs and traditions within different cultures all around the globe. In fact, it is the second most popular holiday, only behind Christmas. It is also a season that inspires creative and fashionable input from all ages, and everyone can dress to express, or impress. People look forward to October and count down to until the end of the month to fill up their houses and dress up while still embracing the true spirit of Halloween, even if they are unaware of it. How are you celebrating this year?
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