Halloween: Origin, Importance, Customs, And Celebrations
In this article, we will discuss the day of Halloween, its historical importance, tradition, activities, and celebration. So let the Halloween countdown start.
When Is Halloween?
Halloween is a celebration that occurs in the evening on October 31. People who celebrate Halloween wear costumes, host the celebration and decorate their homes as well as watch horror films, visit haunted homes, have bonfires and carve jack lanterns, and even do trick or treating. These are only a few of the events that typically occur during the season of Halloween.
The greatest amount of attention for Halloween is in North America and Canada. Each year, 65 percent of Americans decorate their houses, stores, and offices for Halloween. This percentage was higher than at the time of Christmas. At the time of year when Halloween is celebrated, the largest amount of candy is available. In fact, it is the second most popular commercial holiday.
History of Halloween
The origins of Halloween go more than 2000 years back to the time of the early Celts. Druidic priests considered the day as the culmination of the calendar year. It wasn’t just a day to celebrate the harvest of the year, but it is also the date for Samhain, which was a celebration of paying tribute to the dead. To ward off spirits that were believed to wander that walked the night, the Celtic priests lit fires where the burned offerings were destroyed, created charms, and cast spells. The entire Halloween aesthetic is based on ghosts and spirits.
Halloween Events And Celebrations
As Halloween approaches, there are various customs and activities that are performed during the night. These traditions have been in existence since an era long ago, but they were later adapted from celts’ culture as well as other cultures which were influenced by Halloween. Eventually, we saw that an entire Halloween city was created to celebrate the day.
Now, we will look at the different activities and customs common to Halloween when they occur;
On the evening of the Halloween holiday, Celts brought in wood to light bonfires or a celebration of fire on the hill. The Celts would throw the remains of the cattle killed in the flames and young people would travel from house to home asking for food offerings, and lighting their Samhain fires. People would put out their hearts and then join together to make massive fires on holy hilltops in order to honor and give sacrifices to their gods. They would use crops and bones of animals to offer to gods that were sucked and burned in the fires.
However, they also made use of symbols and personal items to heal from illness or bad luck. They believed Bonfires and sacrifices ensured that the sun would shine brightly following a long and dreary winter. At that time, it was known as a fire festival however, in contemporary times, it has become a bonfire, which is derived from the words bone and fire, which means “fire from bones”.
A long time ago Bonfires were a source of superstition. The belief behind having bonfires is to inspire fantasies about who your next husband or wife will be. If bonfires occur, the person who wants to see their potential husband or wife of the future must drop a piece of their hair into the embers of the fire, and afterward, they will begin to dream about the future of their loved one.
One of the most popular traditions of Halloween is wearing costumes. This custom is quite common, particularly for youngsters. On the evening of Halloween, kids would dress in scary outfits and then go to the neighbor’s house to ‘help with the party’ by playing Trick or Treat. The tradition is also associated with celts when they gathered for large bonfires in the hills and dressed with elaborate headdresses and animal skins for disguises. They would dress as spirits and devils so that real ones could not recognize the difference between them and humans. Through a sleight of hand in this way, they believed that they could keep themselves from being taken away at the end of the evening. The ceremony also included dance, stories to tell as well as reading out fortunes.
The popular stories of Halloween say that the custom dates way back to the Celtic times however, there is no evidence of costumes or masks being worn in the Halloween celebrations prior to the twentieth century.
Costumes for Halloween became popular for Halloween celebrations throughout America in the early 1900s for both children and adults. Halloween costumes are usually made to resemble supernatural and terrifying creatures. Costumes are typically ones that represent the spirit of Halloween like witches, ghosts, skeletons, and devils among others. However, there are now costumes of pop culture characters like presidents, movies or television shows, and even cartoon characters. Halloween painting ideas are becoming more popular.
Costumes For Children
Children are the ideal model to play with during Halloween. They will look adorable in various costumes associated with Halloween celebrations. Halloween doodles have become popular majorly due to children. However, nowadays they will be utilized as cartoon characters, Halloween cats, films, and others.
Costumes For Adults
Another fashion popular for Halloween is that for women, and sometimes for males. They utilize costumes for Halloween to justify wearing revealing costumes, showing the skin in a way that wouldn’t be considered acceptable socially.
The custom of carving jack-o’lanterns comes from the Celts. Jack-O-Lantern is a reference to “Jack of the Lantern”. The name originates from the Irish legend about the story of a man called Jack who was unable to enter the heavens. Jack was unable to enter due to his own negligence.
According to the legend, Jack invited the devil to drink with him. The problem was that Jack didn’t have enough money to buy the drink, therefore he arranged for the devil to transform into a coin so Jack could utilize the coin to pay for drinks. The devil was able to do it. After the devil was transformed into a golden coin Jack paid for his drink. Jack later decided to keep the money and place it in his pocket, next to an engraved silver cross. This kept the devil from transforming back to his former form. Then, Jack freed the devil but with a requirement, the evil had to promise him that he would cease to bother him for a year. Also, should Jack pass away the devil could not take his soul, and he could then enter the heavens?
After a season, the devil showed up and Jack tricked him again to climb a tree in order to harvest the fruit. As the devil was climbing up the tree, Jack made an image of a cross on the tree, so that the devil was unable to climb down. Jack offered the devil to erase the sign on the condition that the devil would not bother him for another ten years.
If Jack passed away,
God would not allow such a shady figure as Jack to ascend into heaven. When Jack played tricks on the devil, to say that if he did die the devil would not be able to claim his soul. And the devil fulfilled his promise to Jack and he kept his word that he would not claim his soul which translates to that he would not allow Jack to go to hell. In these conditions, Jack could not enter heaven or hell. Therefore, he was relegated to the darkness of night.
While walking through the woods, he came across a lump of unburnt coal, and he stuffed the coal inside a carved turnip to illuminate his path. In the years that followed, the Irish started to call the ghostly person by the name “Jack of the Lantern,” and then in simpler terms, “Jack O’Lantern.” To keep him out local villagers would carve terrifying faces into turnips and then place the faces in windows. So, the flickering fires emanating from the Jack-O-Lantern were eventually connected to the spirits of the dead.
Trick or Treat
The tradition of trick-or-treating developed in Ireland in the past, many centuries back. To prepare for All Hollow’s Eve, the poor would knock door-to-door with the wealthy and receive money or gifts to offer prayers for the dead on every saints’ day. Food was served to celebrate a big celebration and feast.
But now Trick-or-treating is a custom tradition for children on Halloween. Children dress in frightening costumes. And from house to home will ask for sweets such as candy or even money, by saying, “Trick or treat?”. “Trick” is a naive threat to prank property owners or homeowners. For example, the throwing of eggs or flour on the windows of homeowners when no treats are given.
In North America,
trick or treating is among the most popular traditions associated with Halloween. Pillsbury Halloween cookies have also become famous during this season as well. It has become normal for people to assume that if someone lives in a neighborhood that has children, they must offer treats, such as Halloween squishmallows, to prepare for trick-or-treaters. Trick-or-treats were already a part of Britain and Ireland in which children and people of all ages were able to sing and pray for the dead in exchange for cakes. This tradition is done in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and central Mexico.
In Mexico, trick-or-treating is known as calaverite. It’s actually an indigenous Spanish language whose meaning is “little skull”. The children then ask their friends “me da mi Calaverita?”, in English it is “can you share my small skull?”.
In the last twenty years, this tradition has spread to other countries, such as Italy, Australia, and New Zealand, possibly because of the American TV shows and movies in those countries. Halloween drawings have also become a popular activity in a lot of these places.
Party Of Departed Spirits
This is the idea behind it; request your relatives or friends to dress up as ghosts of a famous person who died. Each participant should bring a lantern or a Halloween pumpkin as their ticket to admission. After all, guests are seated, the first game will be a contest to guess the ghosts. Each person is assigned a number, and then provides a pen and paper for the game. The prize will be awarded to the participant who has made the guess the most accurately.
Sailing Walnut Boat
Boats are made of hollow walnut shells. Each is secured with a small piece of brightly-colored candle. It is also adorned with the name of the person who is attending the event. The candle is lit and then set it afloat in the tub. The vessel in which the candle was first lit can be a symbol of a bachelor, as well as an elderly maid.
Ghosting is rapidly becoming a popular Halloween custom across America, Canada, Great Britain, and other countries too. Based on the location you are in, the latest custom could be referred to as “Ghosting,” or “Boo-ing” but the principle is identical. Halloween characters have become famous because of ghosting.
Ghosting is a fun and enjoyable way to bring the Halloween spirit to your neighbors and friends. It can be done at any time in October, however, either the beginning or the middle of October is ideal. It allows ample time for the whole area to become “ghosted.”
Apple Bobbing, Ducking for Apples, or Snap Apple
Apple bobbing is also known as bobbing for apples. It can be referred to by different names in different areas based on the place you observe Halloween. In Scotland, Apple bobbing is known as “Ducking For Apples”, and in Ireland, it is called “Snap Apple”. It is a tradition played on the night of Halloween. A tub’s large basin is filled with apples and water. They picked apples as the basis for the game because they are more brittle than water, and they can float on the water’s surface. The participants try to get one apple in the tub with no use of their hands.
Ducking for Apples in Scotland is similar to apple bobbing, however, before throwing the apple in a basin they put a dime into one of the apples with a ring inside another, and a button inside the third. These represent luck and marriage as well as single blessedness. You can mix the apples in a big tub along with as many others as you can fit.
Following that, the rule and the next stage of the game are identical to bobbing the apple. However, the difference is that once they have retrieved the apple. The player must then slice their apples and try to avoid breaking the strip that is used for paring. The apple’s paring is then thrown across the left shoulder and is then believed to be the initials of the person who is the parer’s life partner.
Bobbing In Ireland,
Snap Apples usually do not have tubs or large basins, they exclusively use apples. The apples are suspended from a rope and the participants are blindfolded. The first player to take an adequate bite from the apple will be awarded the reward or prize. However, sometimes they played in the same way, placing apples in a pot filled with water, and then trying to grab an apple using their mouths with no hands.
This tradition was derived directly from The Roman goddess Pomona who was the goddess of fruits and gardens. The Pomona is described as a beautiful woman whose arms were filled with fruit and who carried a crown of apples on her head. The game of bocce is a crucial element of Celtic games when families would gather to share celebrations at the Samhain festival. It is believed that the first person to eat an apple within the group is the first to be married and the girls who put the apple they’ve bobbed beneath their pillow are said to be dreaming of their next partner. A lot of Halloween memes have been made about this tradition as well.
The candle is closely related to Blowing. The candle has become one of the most famous games played on Halloween to predict the future. The glow of the candle can provide the atmosphere for a mysterious future-predicting game that can be played by a large number of people and depend on the candles that you have. In this game, we could make use of colored candles. To make the game more thrilling you can invite lots of players to join in the game. Also, you will be able to get predictions about people’s personal lives through this game of candles.
Blindfold the participants, and then allow them to blow out candles. The amount of puffs needed to put out the flame is determined by the length of time before the wedding ceremony of the couple. If you’d like to play the game, you must create a silk blindfold and a table. You will also need a matchbox and three candles. The candles can choose different colors because every color has its own significance. However, you should choose a candle with the colors green, pink, and orange shades.
Halloween is one of the oldest festivals that is celebrated worldwide. Apart from the historical importance given to this day. It is the day when people get together and enjoy each other’s company. And that is alone a good reason to celebrate this day.
So wherever you are, don’t shy away from taking part on Halloween day this year. Happy Halloween!