On 31st October of each year, you always have the chance of seeing people wearing zombies, pirates, and princess costumes walking along your neighbourhood. Kids wearing different kinds of costumes will also come knocking at your door asking for candy. Halloween is a time when kids and adults have fun and try out various outfits according to a favourite movie or fairy tale character toys found on www.starwalkkids.com/.
However, there is more to the Halloween celebration. Do you know the history of this popular celebration and how it started? Let’s find out!
The Halloween was a Celts tradition. This tradition is believed to have started more than 2,000 years ago. Each year the Celts who lived in Ireland celebrated a fire festival called the Samhain around the time of Halloween. The term Samhain, pronounced as ‘sah-win’, is a Celts’ word meaning ‘summer’s end’. This festival was specifically held to celebrate and mark the end of harvesting season.
The Celts were strong believers in spirits of the dead. They believed that at this time of the year the spirits would pass into the realm of the living and pay their loved ones a visit. Also, the Celts’ priest (Druids) were believed to use these spirits to predict the future. People invited the spirits of loved ones into their homes during these festivities and therefore they prepared food and drinks for them.
Nonetheless, unwanted evil spirits also found their way into the realm of the living. To ward them off the people had bonfires and wore masks. Animal and crop sacrifices were also made during this time. The hearth fire was relit from the sacred bonfire of the previous night to help protect them against winter.
Later on, the Celts were conquered and ruled by the Romans for over 400 years and some of their celebrations were combined with the Samhain of the Celtic people. One of them was a commemoration of the day of the dead by the Romans called Feralia celebrated in late October.
Christianity in later years enveloped the Celts and supplanted the Celtic rites. Pope Gregory III declared November 1 to be a day to remember all saints and martyrs and the church also introduced November 2 to be the Soul’s Day. The Soul’s Day was very similar to the Celts tradition of Samhain.
The celebration of All Saints was known as All-hallows. It was also known as All-hallowmas a name meaning All Saints’ Day. It was celebrated on November 1 and a night before it. The Celtics’ Samhain which preceded this event was later popularly known as All-Hallows Eve and later on as the years progressed it was shortened to Halloween.
The first Halloween festivals began as a play party and were not common in many countries. People would tell each other stories related to the dead and try to predict the future and fortunes for others. Ghost stories would also be told.
In the late nineteenth century, the celebration spread to countries such as America due to the immigration of the Irish people who were fleeing the famous Irish potato famine. The traditions of the Irish of dressing up and borrowing food door to door was then adopted by other people. Since the 1920s, Halloween has evolved and people are now accustomed to wearing grotesque or frightening costumes.
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