Halloween is finally here! What is your favorite activity to do on Halloween? Is it wearing costumes? Or carving pumpkins? Or maybe trick-or-treating?
Halloween celebrations are always fun no matter how old you are. But have you ever wondered, how did all of this start? Here we have for you the real history of Halloween and why it is celebrated. Check it out!
Why October 31st?
As we all know, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. The word “Halloween” itself means “hallowed evening”. Previously, this term was known to early Europeans as All Hallows’ Eve.
This day is celebrated to pay homage to saints, along with All Saints’ Day on November 1st. The name was then shortened to “Halloween”.
However, until the 7th century CE, All Hallows’ Eve was actually celebrated on May 13. Later, Pope Boniface IV made the call to change it to its current date.
Then why is Halloween celebrated on October 31 in the first place? Well, it’s because the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain occurred on this day. The observers believed that on this day, the boundary between this world and the afterworld became thinner, hence allowing them to connect with the dead.
Interestingly, a similar belief is also shared by some other cultures, such as the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur that involves saving prayers for the dead. This holiday also known to be observed around October.
Where Did The Activities Come From?
What is your favorite Halloween activity? Well, now let’s dig in about where all those fun Halloween activities came from.
The ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain that we mentioned before apparently involved a lot of ritualistic ceremonies to connect to spirits. There’s not much information known about the celebration. However, many believe that the observers celebrated the festival in costume as a disguise against ghosts.
Not only that, but they also throw special feasts and made lanterns out of gourds. As time passes, Christianity took over and the basic traditions of the holiday ended up being a part of pop culture, the “Halloween” that we know today.
The Origins of Costumes and Trick-or-Treat
After Christianity took over, many people would celebrate Halloween by dressing up as saints and reciting songs or verses. Children would go door to door and ask for something called “soul cakes”. This treat is known to be similar to biscuits.
Soul cakes are originally shared as part of the All Souls’ Day holiday celebrated on November 2. But as the concept evolved into trick-or-treating, soul cakes became a part of Halloween night.
The trick-or-treat concept where children would ask for candies instead of soul cakes became mainstream in the US in the early to mid-1900s. Families would provide treats to children, hoping that they wouldn’t have to experience any holiday pranks from the kids.
The costumes also evolved over time. When the tradition of dressing up as saints started getting too boring for the youngsters, some young Scottish and Irish pranksters came up with the idea to dress up in scary-looking garb as a way to spook their neighbors. And that’s how people started to get creative with their Halloween costumes.
So, what is your costume for this year’s Halloween? Let us know in the comment section below!