‘Ghostly Greetings’ guys, welcome to the spookiest blog of the platform!
Halloween, one of the most looked forward festivals of Western countries. The originality of the festival is held by Ireland, the UK, and Northern France. But, of course, because of the spookiness popularity, the whole world celebrates it on different levels. In the United States, it started in around the 1840s but its real originality is what we are discussing below.
Well, most of us know Halloween is about a night of dressing up as witches or something dramatic. But, why is that so? Of course, the most basic concept is to ward off the evils that are associated with this day. But, do you know the entire story of Halloween?
Let us tell you about it in detail. It is going to be long, fun, and informative.
Get ready for some grand ma’s story time. Get into that mode, come on!
Origin of Halloween and How it all Started
To begin with, the word Halloween is taken from ‘All Hallows Eve’. This means a hallowed evening. So, now you know that this evening is about sanctifying the whole vibe. Let us know why.
Halloween started around 2000 years ago. Yes, the number of years is spooky in itself. I mean 2000 years is not less.
The Halloweens origin belongs to the Celts and Christians with a lot of similar yet different stories.
The tradition was started with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was the ‘Celts’ who started celebrating it. Celts were the people from the regions of the UK, Ireland, and France. During this time, people believed that ghosts come on Earth on Halloween night which is October 31st. They believed it is the most dangerous day for humans on Earth. Their thinking was that on this day the transparency between humans and the dead became paper-thin when the dead could freely walk on Earth.
Of course, those people were scared too of the ghosts and wanted to ward them off the earth. They had a belief that ghosts, goblins, witches, and spirits came on Earth on October 31st after the sunset and could harm any human for their sake. So, the people of that era came up with an idea. They started using pumpkins (the story of which is told below) to make fake faces of humans. They made spooky and scary faces of pumpkins and kept them on the stairs or the passages of their houses. The intent was to scare off the ghosts.
The next thing they did was they wore scary outfits and masks as well. They did all those to fake an illusion to those ghosts that they are not humans but ghosts themselves. This way they thought the ghosts wouldn’t harm them or enter their houses.
They also lit bonfires to scare the ghosts and keep them away.
The Spooky Night of October 31st
Halloween’s been celebrated on 31st October worldwide since always now. The 1st of November is considered as the ‘All Saints Day, ‘All Hallows Day, or the Hallowmas. This day was celebrated as the Communion of All Saints. There is a tradition to celebrate warding off the spirits a day before All Saints Day.
The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st which also marked the beginning of winters for them and the end of the harvest season. They believed that just a day before their New Year, the dead (in form of spirits) would return to Earth.
So, it is the 31st of October that gets celebrated as Halloweens Night.
You can safely call it the spookiest night of the year considering humans try their hardest to fake as their favourite horrific characters.
Well, it is not always spooky but fun too these days. Do you remember how Joey dressed as Chandler on Halloweens and Chandler was forcefully dressed as a pink bunny? Gotcha?
Significance of Halloween
Halloweens for the Celts and the Christians have always been about giving honour to the dead and letting them leave Earth without getting harmed. The Celts also sacrificed to their Gods to keep them protected.
Halloweens in the Present Era
A good thing is that the tradition of Halloweens has not died and people are still celebrating it. It is always commendable to keep the traditions alive so that newer generations are aware of them. However, the way to celebrate has dramatically changed over the years.
Now, it is more of a pop culture festival in the West which is also gradually expanding all over the world. You can say now it is more evolved with fun aspects added to it.
In America, London, or other countries where Halloween’s a huge deal, they do enough things at the festival. The most common agenda of this festival these days is being a part of costume parties where people get dressed as fictional characters. Recreations of lots of iconic looks get done on this day. Games, horror movie marathons, carving jack-o-lanterns, drinking pumpkin-spiced drinks, attending spooky campfire stories, etc are the other things people do on Halloweens.
What’s with the Trick or Treat
Trick or Treat is the cutest part of Halloweens. It is because it is for the children. The children get dressed up in their favourite costumes on this day as this is an age-inclusive festival. They go in their neighbourhood asking their neighbours for treating them with candies. If they ignore, they say they might be tricked by them. Out of affection, the neighbours do treat these kids which has now become a tradition. So, it’s basically either treat them and make them happy or get ready to be tricked by them because now they have their eyes on you.
What’s with the Pumpkin on this Day?
If someone mentions Halloweens to you, the first picture that pops into your mind is a terrifying pumpkin face. Isn’t it?
It is so synonymous with Halloweens that it is impossible to think about this day and not think about the pumpkins. But, why pumpkins and why those faces on them?
It must not be random as well considering the long back history of the Halloweens.
So, the original story dates back to 1895 when people in the UK took turnips to carve ghoulish faces on them and then lit candles inside them. In the US, the people changed the turnips with pumpkins and started carving ghoulish faces on them. Once the faces are created, they light candles within them.
In ancient times, the guisers would take these turnips or pumpkins to ward off any evil. In Christian folklore, these represent a soul that did not get accepted in either hell or heaven. They also sing Halloween folklore which is all about fortune-telling and magic.
Now, they are called ‘Jack O Lanterns’ that people still carve but just put in their house’s stairways or passages as a custom. They believe that the ghosts will get scared of these. They are called so in the name of an Irish man who came from the Irish folktale, Stingy Jack. Irish bought this tradition to America.
But, who is this Stingy Jack?
So, as per the Irish folktale, Stingy Jack is a mythical character. He has a lot of names like Drunk Jack or Flaky Jack. Irish believed that he was the one who invited the devil to have a drink with him. Stingy Jack was a drunkard who would do anything to drink. Stingy Jack did not want to pay for his drink hence he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin so that he would be able to pay for his drink. He tricked the devil more than once.
On the death of Stingy Jack, he wasn’t allowed entry into heaven. When he went to hell, he met the same devil he tricked, and the devil did not let him enter even the hell out of spite. He was doomed to roam on Earth without having any resting place. The devil had given him only a burning turnip so that he could find his way in the darkness through the light.
So, this is where the whole turnip or pumpkin inclusivity comes.
Fun Facts about Halloween
- Some Halloween rituals were also about finding a husband.
- In the USA, the holiday got popularised by the immigrants.
- Presently in America, Halloweens is the second-largest commercial holiday.
- Candy Corn was originally called the ‘chicken feed’.
- There is a Halloween parade in New York that is the biggest one in the states.
- The most popular Halloweens candy is skittles.
- Halloween proves to be a boon for the retail industry.
That’s about it. I am quite sure I gave you a lot of insights on it. And now, I witch you a happy halloween.