Halloween is right around the corner and people are lining up at supermarkets to buy scary costumes and even scarier accessories. Halloween has become popular around the world as a day when people wear costumes, children go Trick-or-treating and horror movies are added to the nighttime playlist. But have you ever wondered why we started celebrating this unusual holiday? The day is often associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead, but despite certain similarities, has a different origin.
Halloween, which is celebrated on 31st October, can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain. It marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the Earth’s hibernation period. It was also believed that this was the day when the barrier between the living and the dead worlds was the thinnest, allowing the dead to visit the living. That’s where the costumes came in. People wore costumes to fool or deceive the spirits that roamed freely.
The origins of the tradition of trick-or-treating are a bit fuzzy. Some believe that it came from the tendency of children and the poor to knock on the doors of people’s houses to ask for gifts and treats. In return, they would pray for the soul of the homeowner’s dead relatives and friends. In some countries, they also recited poetry, sang songs or told jokes to return the favor.
It was the Irish who brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lantern to America. It’s interesting to note that originally, Jack O’Lantern was not carved out of Pumpkin as Pumpkins did not grow in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow’s Eve, and placed ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.
A lot has changed since then, although costumes and trick-or-treating are still prevalent, Halloween celebrations have evolved into large-scale parties and movie marathons. Even the significance of it being a harvest festival has diminished and Halloween is now a chance for people to be who they want to be and of course, having fun.
We wish all of you a Happy Halloween full of scares and treats. Let us know how you celebrate Halloween in your country.