It’s that time of year again when the summer comes to an end; we put back the clocks for an hour. The trees start to fully show the signs of autumn and the approach of winter, plus we have occasions like Halloween. Modern celebrations of Halloween are certainly very different to the ones that we have had in the past. There certainly wasn’t the same amount of sweets and chocolate on offer as there is today? What are the or origins of this strange event? How did it come to be thought of as “spooky”? Was it always about children, and how have the old traditions been adapted to make new ones?
The name Halloween comes from All Hallows Eve. All Hallows Eve was a Christian feast day to celebrate the Saints. It was also believed to be the start of the period of the year for reflection, especially when it came to remembering those that had passed on. You can see that this is where the reference to spirits and Ghosts come from. For the most part, it was to give thanks for the lives of the Saints that had come before, in particular those that had been martyred. Given the terrible ways in how some of them had been martyred, it’s no surprise that the emphasis on tales of horror also became important.
However, The origins of Halloween go even further back than the Christian festival. It was the Pagans how first began to celebrate at this time of the year. It is very likely that the Christians appropriated the date and turned it away from the Pagan celebration to their interpretation. The festival of Samhain (pronounced sowane) was a joyous time that acknowledged the fact that the harvest was safely stored away for the coming Winter months. This would have been the end of a period of arduous work, and it’s no surprise that the Celts and Gaels were in the mood to have a party.
These Pagans believed that the veil between the realms of the living and the dead became frayed and thin at this time of the year. In some cases, that veil faded utterly, and the Ancestors and Spirits would return to the Earth and visit the descendants that they left behind. The Pagans were keen to appease the spirits and honour the dead so that they would leave out gifts for them. It was believed that the enraged spirits would bestow bad luck on the house for forgetting them if they did not. We can now see where the practice of “Trick or Treat” comes from.
It wasn’t until the late Nineteenth century that society began to ignore the religious aspects of the event and concentrated on it being fun. The opportunities that Halloween presented to retailers soon became apparent. October is a quiet month being in between the summertime and Christmas.
So, from all of us at Park Home Life. Happy Halloween!