Halloween – the only time of the year during which you can dress up like a serial killer and not be caught by the police! Seriously, all jokes aside, Halloween is a time to have fun and play dress-up with your friends. It falls just between the fall and the winter season and is a time for superstition and celebration. The origins of this festival are said to be in relation with the Samhain Celtic Festival in which people would sit near bonfires, and wear costumes to ward off the roaming ghosts. The holiday of All Saints’ Day, celebrated on 1st November, had some elements of the Samhain Festival. Halloween’s previous evening is known as All Hallows’ Eve.
Origin & Meaning of Halloween
Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Roman Pantheon on 13th May, 609AD to honor the Christian martyrs and the All Martyrs Day was created by the Western Church. This day incorporates some of the Celtic Samhain traditions. Pope Gregory III later shifted the day from May 13th to November 1st, and included all saints and martyrs as well. The day, then, came to be known as All Saints’ Day. On November 2nd, the church observed All Souls’ Day in honor of the dead. This day was celebrated in a similar fashion to the Samhain Festival with parades, playing dress-up in costumes of devils, angels, and saints, and with celebrations around big bonfires. The celebration on this day was also known as All-Hallowmas or All-hallows and the night before came to known as the All-hallows Eve in honor of the Samhain festival. This day would, eventually, be known as Halloween or All Hallowmas Day. Halloween is synonymous with Snap Apple Night because in ancient times, with the merging of Celtic and Roman festivals, apple bobbing was a major celebration. During the celebration, unmarried individuals would try to bite an apple floating in water and the first person who did so without the use of the hands would be allowed to marry.
Facts About Halloween
There are various facts which are associated with Halloween. Some weird, some interesting, but generally, all are epic. Some of these facts are –
- In Hollywood, on Halloween, a fine of $1000 is imposed on anyone who are selling or using Silly String.
- The tradition of dressing up for Halloween comes from the Celts who believed that costumes and masks were worn to confuse or ward off any and all evil spirits.
- In the original tradition of ‘Trick or Treat’, people had to dance for the ‘treat’ part.
- Originally, the Jack-o’-Lanterns were actually carved out of potatoes, beets, and turnips, and not pumpkins.
- Even though it is completely unclear whether black cats are actually sacrificed on Halloween or not, however, some animal shelters all over the world do not allow the adoption of black cats on and around Halloween for they fear that the cats will be sacrificed.
Myths & Superstitions of Halloween
Halloween is all about ghosts and spirits. So, it’s a natural matter of fact that there are various myths and superstition associated with it. So, some of the few myths and superstitions includes –
- Ancients myths says that if a bat were to fly around your home three times, it suggested that someone inside the house was about to die.
- There are numerous folklores which revolve around spiders. It is believed that when an individual saw a spider on Halloween, it meant that the angels of the individual’s deceased loved ones ware watching over him/her.
- In Celtic times, the Pagans used black and orange for signifying the death of summer cropping season and the turning of leaves.
- Candy corn, a Halloween treat, was created during the late 1800s for celebrating large crops of corn which were harvested during summer.
- It is believed, that during Halloween, if a candle were to extinguish itself for no apparent reason, it signified that a ghost was present in the house.
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins on Halloween?
According to an old Irish legend, scary faces were carved on numerous vegetables in order to scare away ‘Stingy Jack’. Legend has that a farmer know as Stingy Jack tried to sell his soul to the devil. He tricked Satan into making a deal with him, and then, tricked him again and kept his soul for himself. However, after his death, God didn’t let him into heaven. So, it is believed that his soul is still stuck between hell and heaven. So, in order to frighten him away, people started to carve faces into vegetables to scare him away.