Halloween is a tradition celebrated
on the night of 31st
of October, most notably by children dressing in
costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets
and is celebrated in parts of the Western world.
is one of the oldest holidays with origins going
back thousands of years. Halloween which means All
Hallows Eve or the night before All Hallows, has
had many influences from many cultures over the
Hundreds of years ago in Great Britain and Northern
France, lived the Celts who worshipped nature and
had many gods. The Celts commemorated their New
Year on 1st of November with a festival and marked
the end of the "season of the sun" and
the beginning of "the season
of darkness and cold."
On 31st of October,
after the crops were all harvested and stored for
the long winter the cooking fires in the homes were
extinguished. The Celtic priests lighted new fires
and offered sacrifices of crops and animals. When
the morning arrived they gave the hot coals from
their fires to each family who then took them home
to start new cooking fires. These fires kept the
homes warm and free from evil spirits.
The next day, the Celts celebrated the 1st
of November festival which was called Samhain and
lasted for 3 days. They paraded in costumes made
from the skins and heads of their animals.
When Romans invaded Britain on the first century,
they brought many festivals and customs. One of
these festivals was Pomona Day, named for their
goddess of fruits and gardens, which was also celebrated
around the 1st of November.
Later, with the spread of the new Christian religion
throughout Europe and Britain, in the year 835 AD,
the Roman Catholic Church stated the 1st
of November as a church holiday to honor all the
saints which was called All Saint's Day, Hallowmas,
or All Hallows. Years later, the Church stated the
2nd of November as a holy day to honor the dead
which was called All Souls Day. It was celebrated
with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing
up as saints, angels and devils.
But the spread of Christian religion did not make
people forget their early customs. On the eve of
All Hallows, 31st
of October, people continued to commemorate the
festivals of Samhain. Then, the 31st
of October became known as All Hallow Even, All
Hallow's Eve, Hallowe’en, and later known
The Halloween which people celebrate today includes
all of these influences, Pomona Day's apples, nuts,
and harvest, the Festival of Samhain's black cats,
magic, evil spirits and death, and the ghosts, skeletons
and skulls from All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.
Following are the customs on Halloween Day:
Trick or Treat
custom of trick or treating probably has several
origins. During Samhain, the Celtics priests believed
that the dead played tricks on mankind and cause
panic and destruction. They had to be appeased,
so people gave the Celtics priests food as they
visited their homes
In Ireland and Scotland, people
used to carve scary faces into turnips or potatoes
and light them for their Halloween gatherings. They
commemorated Jack, a shifty Irish villain so wicked
that neither God nor the Devil wanted him. Rejected
by both the sacred and profane, he wandered the
world endlessly looking for a place to rest, his
only warmth a glittering candle in a rotten turnip.
They brought the Jack O’Lantern tradition
with them when they came to the United States and
soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America,
make perfect Jack O’Lanterns.
Halloween Masquerade Mask
From earliest times, people wore
masks when dry season or other disasters struck.
They believed that the demons who had brought their
misfortune upon them would become frightened off
by the hideous masks.
The Witch’s Broomstick
The witch is a central symbol of
Halloween. Some witches rode on horseback, but poor
witches went on foot and carried a broom or a pole
to aid in vaulting over streams.
Bobbing for Apples
Many rituals of Roman origin began
when Romans invaded the Celts. Among them was the
worship of Pomona, goddess of the harvest. Apples
were the sacred fruit of the goddess.