The Story of Halloween
This Article was written by Helena Quintao
Ah, Halloween. An excuse children use to get free candy from strangers and dress up as spooky creatures, But where, or rather when, did it all begin?
What is Halloween?
If you didn’t know already, halloween is a yearly holiday celebrated on October 31st, where people (mostly children nowadays) dress up as spooky monsters like werewolves, ghosts, witches… etc.
But one of the best parts of this spooky holiday is the fact that if you knock on the door of some random person’s house and say "trick or treat," there is a high chance that they’ll give you free candy! You heard me, FREE. CANDY.
All fun aside, have you ever wondered ‘who created this glorious holiday?’
It all originated from a Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear scary costumes to “ward off ghosts.” The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the part which is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and France, celebrated new years on November 1st.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter- a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31st they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
All Saint's Day
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory decided to nominate November 1st as a time to honor all saints; however, by the arrival of christians around the Celts’ land, All Saint’s Day was moved to November 2nd. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the celtic festival with a related, church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes of saints, angels and devils.
The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Because All Saints Day began to incorporate some of the traditions of Samhain, All-Hallows eve also began to incorporate the celebration!
Over a couple hundred years later, Halloween evolved into a day full of activities including: trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.