Halloween is that eagerly anticipated yearly tradition that I and especially the small fry look forward to and engage in with unbridled enthusiasm. Surprisingly enough, it was not originally celebrated the way that it is now, with children of all ages dressing up in costumes that either evokes a state of horror or amusement to the random observer. These hardy munchkins of the night queue up to chant the mantra ‘trick or treat’ at each closed door with their ‘collection’ bag at the ready in anticipation of a ‘treat’ rather than a ‘trick’ as the door opens at the prompt of the bell. This continues throughout the night as the excited costumed children dash from house to house in order to receive and amass the maximum ‘loot’ of sweets that bags can hold before retiring to bed. Please note - slumber time is ideal for parents to abscond with the loot bags before morning!
Halloween has undergone an evolution of sorts. Its origins can be traced back to an ancient Celtic Fire Festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which is equivalent to the modern day celebration of New Year’s Eve. The Celts were a pagan race that populated various sectors of Ireland. Interestingly, the date of October 31st corresponds to that natural progression of seasonal change that marked the end of summer and the commencement of the cold and dreary months of winter that loomed ahead. The Celts were a superstitious bunch who believed the boundary that separated the spirit world and the living was tenuous on this particular day, and the entry of spirits into the world of the living would be facilitated by the changing seasons. Thus, malevolent spirits could enter at will and wreak havoc on the crops to be harvested, as well as endanger the local residents with mischief. To appease these spirits, the Celts built huge bonfires where people tossed crops and animals as sacrifices to the deities who would protect them from the evildoings of the spirits. The attendees wore costumes comprised of animal heads and skins.
As the religion of Christianity began to take a firm hold on Europe, this fire festival was summarily replaced by All-Hallows Eve - which eventually evolved to Halloween! This day marked the eve of All Saints’ Day which is celebrated on November 1st. It is remarkably similar to the festival of Samhain, it is celebrated by bonfires, parades and costumes. Now that you learned a little about the history of Halloween let the fun begin! Get your costume on and have a bootastic Halloween!
This Article was Written by Jackie Kingston.
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