Halloween is one of the most famous holidays around the world especially in America and Canada. Halloween is one of the oldest traditions in the world, it also stands out due to its unique theme which is the living and the dead. This holiday marks the transition from summer to fall/Autumn, it is also connected to ancient rituals related to seasonal changes. Halloween is celebrated every year on October 31, this year 2022 it will be on a Monday. In the modern era, Halloween is celebrated the most in America and Canada as mentioned above, Kids go out to their neighbours dressed in costumes and ask for candy, that activity is called trick or treat. Older individuals usually dress up in costumes as well and throw a party in honour of Halloween, however, did you know Halloween is connected to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain?
The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain is when people would light up some wood and create a bonfire and wear costumes to repeal away ghosts. This tradition/festival is taken back to the eight centuries, The Pope Gregory the Third announced that November first (1st) is the day to celebrate all saints, therefore, that makes November 1st all saints day. All saint’s day also has traditions from the Celtic festival of Samhain.
The Celts lived two thousand years ago, they are mostly found in the United Kingdom and Ireland and northern France. The celts celebrate their new year on November 1st just like all saint’s day. The celts believe that the living and the dead become blurred the day before their new year (November 1st), that’s why they celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain on October 31st, when they believed that the ghosts of the dead are back on earth, that’s why Halloween is connected to human death and that is where the concept of the living and the dead is associated with Halloween.
The Celts also believed that due to the presence of ghosts and the dead on the livings ground made it easier for the Celtic priests to make predictions about the future and upcoming events in the coming year, that’s why this ritual brought comfort for those that participated in the Celtic festival of Samhain, especially during wintertime. To bring the ritual to an end the individuals that participated in the ritual would gather around the bonfire and burn dead bodies and corps of animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities, during this ritual the Celts would wear costumes specifically ones with animal heads or animal skin to try to read each other’s fortunes. The Celts would turn off the fires and then light them up again in order to protect them from the coming winter.
A fun fact about Halloween, Halloween is not the holiday’s original name, it was originally called Hallows Eve. Overtime, Halloween went from being hallows eve where some rituals are preformed to remove the spirits of ghosts into a day full of fun activities such as trich or treat, making carving shapes on a big pumpkin, multiple festivals, and themed events for Halloween, and of course dressing up in costumes of choice that are not necessarily connected to scaring away ghosts.
Luna Abd Elrazaq.