Halloween is approaching and just as with any year, we can anticipate the fun of celebrating by dressing up in our favorite costumes, bobbing for apples, going to parties and connecting with friends and family.
But have you ever pondered on how Halloween came about? Whether the day stems from a Christian or Pagan holiday? Or a combination of both?
History suggests that Halloween evolved from a Celtic tradition from about 2000 years ago called Samhain. The Celts of Britain and Ireland would celebrate the days of the harvest with a festival, which was held the night before the new year. Not only did November 1st mark the first day of the new year, it was also considered the beginning of the winter period.
The Celts believed that during this time the veil between the worlds was thin and the souls of the dead would return. They worried that evil spirits might harm their crops so to prepare, people would light bonfires to frighten them away. They would also dress up in animal heads or
masks to disguise themselves as protection. In addition, they hallowed out pumpkins and squash to carry as a lanterns to ward off the ghosts. In some ways, this is how witches, goblins, demons, etc. became associated with Halloween.
This was also a time when the Druids felt that it was easier to make predictions about the future since the boundary between the worlds was thin. So they would also engage the priests during the festival to make predictions for the year to come.
Now jump to the 7th century where the Pope establishes that May 13th is All Saints Day or All Hallow’s Day. Did you know that hallow means holy? This day was a way for the Christians to honor the dead with an evening mass along with a celebration that would include a large feast.
And for some reason, The Pope decided to move this holiday to November 1st that following century. Perhaps this was the Pope’s way to change a Pagan holiday into a Christian one?
Regardless, any religious affiliation with the holiday ended with the Reformation. And although the Christian community forbade celebrating the holiday, the Celtics continued to celebrate the day as a secular holiday. Eventually, those secular celebrations made their way here starting around the 19th century as immigrants from Ireland and Britain settled in the United States and brought their costumes with them from abroad.
And over time, Halloween has transitioned to become one of America’s favorite holidays as we celebrate by dressing up and going to costume parties, trick or treating, watching scary movies and much more. How do you celebrate? Wishing you a Happy Halloween!
Author: Cate Coffelt http://bestamericanpsychics.com/listing/cate-coffelt
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia (2023, September 13). Halloween. Encyclopedia
Halloween. (2023, September 6). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween