- Christian feast day to celebrate the lives and deaths of God’s Saints
- Halloween is also known as “All Hallows Eve”
- Originally started from a Pagan festival called Samhain
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History Behind Halloween
When most people think of Halloween they think of trick and treating, home decoration, bobbing for apples and other family fun activities. Bet you do not know the origin story behind Halloween.
Halloween started around 2000 years ago. It was a festival that was celebrated by the Celts people of Ireland and Scotland. Back then it was not called Halloween but rather known as Samhain.
This festival marks the end of the Celt year. The Celtic calendar was mainly divided into two categories, the dark and the light, winter and summer.
October 31st marks the transition between our world and the world of the spirit and the fairies. They would lay out food and drinks to gift to the spirits to be happy. The spirit in hopes will accept the gift and in return ensure a prosperous year ahead.
Some of the Celts would dress up in costumes and this would mean protecting themselves as vengeful spirits that might attack them. This is also a time where the dead spirits of the people will return to our world.
One traditional practice to celebrate the return of the dead spirit was to leap an empty chair in front of the fire or to leave empty chairs at the fest.
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How is Halloween is celebrated around the world?
Here you will find how countries around the world celebrate Halloween.
- Spain– The Spanish celebrate day of the witches for three days by lighting bonfires and drinking a local drink called Queimada.
- Scotland- The children in Scotland wear costumes like America and go trick or treating. There is also festival in Edinburg that includes fire processional and music.
- Poland– Those who follow All Saints Day leave their open to welcome wandering spirits.
- Portugal– Portugal celebrates All Saints Day with children sing door to door in exchange for treats.
- Hong Kong– also known as hungry ghost festival celebrated in August. The holiday is celebrated for 24 hours which the spirits are believed to roam freely.
- Cambodia– Cambodia celebrates a 15 day festival called patch event by bringing a variety of foods as offering to the dead.
- Germany- All Saints Day is celebrated during this holiday with some citizens hide their knives from nearby spirits.
- South Korea– Big celebrators of costumes festivals and parades. The streets are often closed for those parades.
- Ireland– The children play snap Apple, which is a game to get a bite out of an apple that is hanging overhead.
- Italians– Italians celebrate by crossing the Devil’s bridge.
- Czech Republic-It is celebrated on 2nd November by people honouring the dead by placing a chair in front of a fireplace to symbolize living and dead relatives.
- Belgium– Many Belgians cities hold festivals or parades to celebrate Halloween. Belgians leave live candles outside their house to honor the dead.
- Mexico-Celebrated by trick or treating or creating intricate altars for the dead.
- Austria-Obsessed about pumpkins and holds an annual pumpkin festival.
Why is Halloween Scary?
The Celtic period, Halloween or formerly known as Samhain is a day between the living and the dead. During Samhain, the Celtic priest also known as Druids were able to communicate with the spirits and bring back a fortune for the living world.
The scary part as well derives from the dressing to scare away evil spirits that might interfere with the spirits of family and friends trying to return.
Over the years we forgot the real history pertaining to the spiritual side of celebrating Halloween. The over-hyped media and pop culture also promote the creepiness that surrounds Halloween with the promotion of horror movies and TV shows. There are certain groups that relate Halloween to the promotion of “Satanism”. As a result, there are schools that ban Halloween.
10 Fun Facts About Halloween
Fact 1: The word witch comes from the old English wicce, meaning wise woman
Fact 2: The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
Fact 3: Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
Fact 4: The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medival Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.
Fact 5: According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a man named Jack who tricked the devil. He was condemned to wander the earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths
Fact 6: Trick or treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting our treats to placate spirits who roamed the streets at the end of the Celtic calendar year.
Fact 7: Black and Orange are traditional Halloween colors. Orange stands for the harvest and autumn while black symbolizes the boundaries between life and death.
Fact 8: Children are more than twice more likely to be killed in a pedestrian/car accident on Halloween than on any other night.
Fact 9 : The 1978 movie Halloween was on such a tight budget, they had to use the cheapest mask they could find for the character of Michael Meyers. The mask turned out to be William Shatner Star Trek Mask.
Fact 10: Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.