Why Do We Celebrate Halloween – The Spookiest Holiday Of The Year
Author: NS Kennedy
Halloween is full of costumes and candy, trick-or-treating and terrifying haunted houses, pumpkins and black cats. But just where did Halloween come from? Why are we celebrating?
The history of Halloween goes back 2000 years. Many believe that Halloween’s origins are found in the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who were located in Ireland, the UK and the northern parts of France, celebrated their New Year on the first of November. Samhain was celebrated the night before the New Year.
The New Year, Celts believed, marked summer’s end, harvest time, and the start of dark, cold winter months. Those winter months were associated with death by these people. On October 31, the night before the New Year, the Celts celebrated Samhain. This day, they believed, was when the ghosts of the deceased returned to earth because the boundaries between the living world and the dead world blurred.
When we think of “Trick-Or-Treating”, the origins can probably be found in the English All Souls’ Day parades. During these celebrations, the poor would come out and beg for food from the more wealthy families. When the families gave them pastries called “soul cakes”, they asked for the poor to pray for their relatives that had passed away.
Another possibility that may have grown into “Trick-Or-Treating” is the tradition of people leaving bowls of food in front of their homes. They did this to keep the ghosts that were wandering the earth from entering.
Dressing in costumes has a couple possible origins. European and Celtic people both felt winter was a frightening time. It was cold, it was darker, and the possibility of running out of food was great. When they reached the time when they thought the dead returned, they thought they might encounter these ghosts whenever they left their houses. The wearing of masks and costumes grew from these people donning masks so the ghosts would not recognize them!
This holiday was brought to the US by Scotch and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. At that time, much of the “spookiness” of the holiday was removed and a sense of community and fun were added. Although scary themes are still the focus of many Halloween celebrations, that scariness is done for fun, not because of actual fear.
Halloween is currently the 2nd largest commercial holiday!
Nicola always enjoys celebrating Halloween with her family. Visit her Halloween site for tips and information about Homemade Halloween Costumes at http://Homemade-Halloween-Costumes.Best-Halloween.com
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