Halloween: October’s Greatest Feast
Halloween is a holiday that is people actually celebrate each year on the 31st of October. The tradition is believed to be influenced by the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. However, Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday.
During the 8th Century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day. The evening before is known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Eventually, the festive evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes, and eating treats.
Ancient Origin of Halloween
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Mostly area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France are ancient Celts who used to celebrate November 1 as a new year.
This day was marked as the end of summer and the beginning of the cold winter. During the ancient period, a time of year was often associated with human death or dark because of extremes cold. Back then people believed one night before the new year, the portal opens between the worlds of the living and the dead. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
To commemorate the incident people built huge sacred bonfires, where they gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices. During the celebration people wore different costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.
All Saints Day
During the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day.
By the 9th Century, the influence of Christianity spread over Celtic lands. All saints day celebrat this day similarly to Samhain. Similarly, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. And the night before it, began to be called hallows eve and eventually Halloween.
It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead.
The celebration has a limit to the European people. Later when they moved to America, the customs of European ethnic groups and American Indians mixed up. And a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.
The first celebration includes play parties which are public events. People participate in parades to celebrate the harvest. Children usually dress up in costumes and go house asking for chocolates and blessings, a practice which is called trick or treating.
Americans spend around $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second-largest commercial holiday after Christmas. Halloween movies also have a history of being box office hits.
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