As October has crept in fast and furious, the colours of the trees are turning of that burnt orange that just makes us love fall/autumn, I cannot help contain the excitement for Halloween.
Halloween is currently the 2nd most celebrated holiday of the year, losing the match to obviously Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year, not because of the carving or the trick or treating, but because, despite being only a one night holiday, it’s packed with history. And boy, do I love history.
So, without further ado, grab your cup of tea, or Pumpkin Pie Pancakes, and read this short story as to why we celebrate All Hallows’ Eve – or, Halloween.
Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve.
The name comes from the Christian celebration of Hallowmas, or the vigil to All Saints Day, which marks the start of winter. It is not fully a Christian festivity, however. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, it is unsure when exactly it was adopted from the Celtic tradition of Samhain.
Samhain, a Celtic sinister tradition, was held every year on November 1st. It was believed that, on this day, the veil that works as a barrier between the living world and the Otherworld would be at it’s thinnest. This would allow spirits from the year past, bad or good, to cross the line and wonder the living land. This would be in search of their homes or to play some mischief, if to be in the presence of what nowadays we would call poltergeist.
The land of the living would prepare to welcome the spirits by leaving offerings outside their houses. They would also set bonfires on hilltops in order to relight their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits. People would also wear masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. These ghosts were referred to as supernatural creatures, such as hobgoblins and fairies.
It was around the Middle Ages that the old Jack O‘Lantern became more common, though originally was a carved turnip.
Divination was also considered to be optimal at this time, as the doors of supernatural were open to the living world. Rituals and other games, such as apple bobbing, were common during the celebration of Samhain.
Today, the Neo-Paganism & Wiccan communities both celebrate Samhain. Both religions pay their respects to their ancestors and, as in the past, try to communicate with the Otherworld.
You can see from this very short explanation that what we know as Halloween today, got its meaning from what our Celtic ancestors did in the past.
I can just wonder whether our ancestors were right, as every year it’s filled with eeriness and delight at the same time!
Pictures on this post are courtesy of Unsplash and the content creators working for them.