What is Halloween?
Halloween is celebrated on 31st night of October every year. This year, Halloween is on a Saturday with a full moon overhead. It is a huge festival in the western countries with the USA celebrating it with the biggest enthusiasm. On this night, or for the whole “Halloween week”, people dress up in different costumes and celebrate it with their friends and families, partying and doing fun and/or spooky activities like haunted houses, carving Jack-o-Lantern, eating treats and many more. Children go trick-or-treating and gather candies and treats from neighbours.
Halloween has evolved from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. During the celebration of Samhain, people would light up huge bonfires and wear different types of costumes to keep ghosts at bay.
Origin of the name:
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III chose a day to honour all saints. The first day of November was chosen to do so and the day was named All Saints Day. Not long after, All Saints Day started including some traditions of the Celtic festival of Samhain. The evening before the All Saints Day started to be known as All Hallows Eve which slowly evolved to be called Halloween. To this day the name of the festival hasn’t changed even though the celebration sure has.
The origin of Halloween, as we mentioned earlier, dates back to the festival of Samhain celebrated by the Celts. Celts lived about 2000 years ago in the areas which are now known as Ireland, the UK and northern France.
They celebrated their new year on November 1. November 1 was when the summer and the harvest ended and the dark, cold and long nights of winter began. This time of the year was known to be linked to human death. They believed that this night of the end of summer was when the living world and the dead world had no boundaries between them. The Samhain festival, celebrated on October 21st, was when it was believed that the dead had returned to the earth.
They burnt dead crops and scarified animals for good omen and braced for the long, cold nights of winter. They wore costumes, which were usually animal heads and skins, and told each other their fortunes.
The Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic lands by 43 A.D. During the rule of the Romans, the festival of Samhain popularized and became a festival which was celebrated by all.
This festival then spread across the globe with a huge burst, especially in America. The huge burst was because of the Irish immigrants that fled their country to escape the famine. After that, the festival grew and grew until Halloween was no longer about celebrating the dead but more about a community get-together and a happy celebration. It was, soon, declared a national holiday across many countries and to this day the celebration remains almost the same.
To read more about the origin and the history of Halloween, check out this article.
2020 has taken a huge toll on all of our lives. Almost everyone is affected by the global pandemic. On top of that, forest fires, floods, unrest on borders and many other unpleasant factors just make this year worse and worse.
The pandemic has made us stay away from our loved ones, which is sad and frustrating but also necessary. We urge you to maintain social distancing on this Halloween and be safe. We don’t think sending kids for trick-or-treating in other people’s houses is a wise thing to do. Stay away from mass gatherings and celebrate this Halloween with your family. You could invite a few of your friends who you know are responsible. You could even celebrate it with your neighbours while being in your respective backyards.
Spend some time with your family watching horror movies. We have made a list of some of the scariest movies that you can watch this Halloween. Don’t forget to wear a mask when you go out. There is no excuse to not wear a mask during Halloween.
And don’t forget to stay under a blanket.
Happy Halloween, everyone!