Think about it for a second, you dress up in some costume other than what you’d normally wear (most of the time…sometimes people don’t put any effort into it at all) and you go around (in the cold) and beg strangers for candy. Isn’t this everything we were taught not to do when we were kids?
Every year on October 31 various cultures celebrate Halloween in different ways. The most popular and lighter form is with party games, haunted houses, ghost stories, bonfires, costumes of witches, ghosts and vampires and the question “trick or treat?” .
The darker origins of the celebrations lie hundreds of years ago as boundaries disappeared between this world and the next.
The origin of the modern holiday of Halloween permeates Gaelic and Welsh folklore, Ancient Roman celebrations, and Christian history. Some historians discuss its origins being in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain.
Alternatively, the Christian All Hallows’ Eve (31st day known as All Hallows’ or All Saint’s Day) and practices and beliefs around it may have influenced modern day celebrations. The Festival of Samhain, however, is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is erroneously regarded as ‘The Celtic New Year’.
Customarily, this was a time used by the ancient pagans to slaughter livestock and ensure enough supplies were stocked for winter stores.
The Ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the departed would arise and bring about mayhem and destruction such as sickness or damaged crops.
The festivals would frequently involve throwing the bones of slaughtered livestock on bonfire. Costumes and masks were also worn in an effort to either appease the evil spirits or mock them.
The Romans occupation of the Celts brought the tradition of Feralia, a day celebrated in late October by the Romans for the passing of the dead as well as a festival which celebrated the Roman Goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit.
Interesting, the symbol of Pomona was an apple, which is a proposed origin for the tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
Other fascinating origins include the Jack-o-lanterns which were traditionally carried by children in disguise on All Hallows’ Eve in order to frighten evil spirits. A popular Irish Christian folktale has the Jack-o-lantern representing a soul who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.
An old Christian custom called “souling” dating back to the 15th to the origin of “trick or treating”. This old custom involved baking and sharing “soul cakes” for all christened souls.
Traditionally these small round cakes were made for All Saints or All Souls Day to celebrate the dead. Often groups of poor children would go door-to-door collecting soul cakes as a means of praying for souls in purgatory.
There may also be an origin in the medieval practice of mumming, seasonal folk plays performed by actors known as mummers of guisers (performers in disguise).
No matter what culture it originates from, even modern day celebrations of Halloween reflects its macabre and dark origins.
Another Christian tradition states that the first Haloween was the night many Christians were slaughtered (by people who didn’t like them and wanted to shut them up) for their belief in, following, and telling others about Jesus Christ.
How are you supposed to be happy about Haloween after you read that? For that matter, why are we taking it so lightly. I’m just saying, it’s a weird thing to get all excited about. Why go out in the cold and freeze when you could wait til tomorrow and get all the candy you want at half price?