If you’re like me, Halloween is one of the best and most anticipated holidays of the year. You should expect your neighbours to be wearing costumes, lots of fun parties, and the best part, is the joy of seeing children knocking on your door cheering “Trick or Treat?!”. Halloween is full of fun and games, and is celebrated by people as a way to bond and reconnect with those who are close to them. People often just celebrate and enjoy Halloween as it is, but never even questioned why it’s an event in the first place. What is the point of Halloween? How did it even come about? Actually, what IS Halloween? Let me tell you now, the history and origins of this ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’ holiday is neither a ‘trick’ or a ‘treat’.
Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain, where people would dress in costumes to scare away the ghosts that would spook the people. It is an act of blessing its people from the influence of ghosts or natural beings. The Celts (who lived over two thousand years ago lived in areas where nowadays are considered as Ireland, France, and the United Kingdom) celebrated their new year on November 1st. The day marked the end of a nice, warm summer and the beginning of a cold, and dark winter. The Celts believed that on the 31 of October, or the night before the new year, it is when the souls of the dead came back to life.
In addition to this festival, the Celts also believed that these ghosts or spirits that came from the other world would allow priests (also called Druids) to predict the future. These predictions were considered to be a sense of comfort for the people to face the long and dreaded winter. To remember and commemorate this night, the Celts’ priests would set up bonfires and burn animals as sacrifices. They would also wear costumes revolving around ghosts and monsters.
In today’s modern society, one of the most popular traditions or events that always happens during Halloween is the trick or treats. It is often done by children, usually ranging from 5-13 years old, and they would knock on people’s homes asking for either a trick or a treat whilst also wearing costumes. This also had its own history. In the past, around the 1700s and 1800s, during Halloween time, Americans would usually knock on people’s doors and ask for food and money, an act which is basically a carbon-copy of the “trick or treat” in today’s’ society. During the time, young women believed that during Halloween, they were able to find out the appearance of their future husband by doing tricks involving apple pairings, mirrors, and yarns.
Now as you have known the history of Halloween, you should be aware that the rituals and events that happened are no longer a thing for us today. Nowadays, Halloween is a big day that brings people closer together radiating joy rather than giving creeps. Happy Halloween!
Words by: Mikhail Burman
Header credits: www.history.com