History of Halloween

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Did you know that the word “halloween” actually originates from a Catholic Church? Halloween like much people actually thought as some demon worship or ancient pagan ritual but the history is that on the November 1st, “All Hollows Day” or “All Saints Day” is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. However, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, where summer ends on 31st October, it was a day of celebration and holiday called Samhain (sow-en) also known as the Celtic New Year.

The storiy goes that on that day, spirits of all who died throughout the preceding year would come back and search for living bodies to possess for the next year and believed that by doing so, it was the only way to afterlife. The Celtics believed that at that time, all laws of space and time would be suspended, allowing the spirits world to roam free.

Of course, the still-living people did not want to be possessed, so on the night of 31st October, people would not light fires in their homes to make themselves cold and unattractive body. People would also dress up in ghoulish costumes and parade noisily around the neighbourhood to frighten away the spirits.

Soon, the Romans followed the Celtic’s practices. But in the 1st century AD, Samhain was brought together with some other Roman traditions that was celebrated in October.

Overtime, the way of practice changed to be ritualized as believes in spirit possession waned. The practice of dressing up in ghoulish costumes also became more of a ceremonial role.

The tradition of “trick or treat” were thought to have originated with the 9th Century European custom called souling. On 2nd November, early Chiristians would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes” made out of square bread with currants. Those that received the soul cakes would promise prayers for the dead relatives of the donors. For the dead, it was believed that by prayers, the souls would then be lead to heaven.

The tradition “Jack-o-lantern” came from the Irish folklore where a man named Jack, who was a drunkard and trickster, tricked the Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, thus, trapping the Satan up the tree. Cleverly, Jack made a deal with the Satan that he would never tempt him again.

After Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the Satan. Instead, the Satan gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

Initially, the Irish used turnips as their “Jack’s lanterns” originally. But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the American Jack-O-Lantern was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

Therefore, we should all just embrace Halloween just as a day of holiday and celebration of the older day’s culture and tradition and not fear. After all, fear only happens to those that do not know.

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Exactly! Embrace Halloween as a day of holiday and celebration. Some Halloween costumes can and do cause fear though, just in case you didn’t know. There are some Renaissance costumes that would be perfect for a late 16th century ghost sure to scare a few friends at your next party. But the bottom line is having fun, playing tricks, getting treats, and enjoying the ghoulish sites and delights Halloween provides.

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