With Halloween just around the corner, have you ever wondered about the origin of Halloween and the history of Halloween? Halloween, also known as All Hallows Eve or All Saints Eve is celebrated on the last day of October every year. Firstly, Halloween involves a lot of fun activities like costume parties, apple bobbing, trick or treat, pumpkin carving, and Jack O Lantern. Secondly, it comes with a rich history of Halloween. However, learning about the history of Halloween is as important as dressing up for it. The History of Halloween is not only long but also gripping.
The History of Halloween is undoubtedly rich. It happens to come from many sources and backgrounds. Furthermore, it is a blend of paganism and current pop-culture. So, get set to explore the history of Halloween and how it came to be as what it is now!
The origin of Halloween
According to historians, the word Halloween takes its derivation from the term All Hallows Eve. The term Halloween means Holy evening or Hallowed evening. The phrase All Hallows Eve was traced back to the mid-sixteenth century. Halloween originated around 19 decades before in countries now known as France, Ireland, and England. The origin of Halloween can be traced back to the Celts who lived in Ireland around 2000 years ago.
Ancient History Of Halloween
The Celtic Origin Of Halloween
The modern Halloween apparently roots back to and is influenced by Celtic Customs. Originally, Halloween was the Celtic Celebration of Samhain. The Celts celebrated the day as a New Year. October 31, was important for them as it marked the end of the season of harvest. It was the biggest festival in the Celtic Countries. Not only did Halloween mark the end of the summer harvest season but it also marked the arrival of the season of winter. According to historical sources, the Celtics also believed that on October 31 the souls of dead people could communicate with the living people.
Bonfires, which are an important element to modern day Halloween, were also a huge part of the Celtic celebration 2000 years back. Moreover, according to Samhain tradition, on the day of Halloween, the dead spirits would rise and roam around to celebrate the coming of winters. Since winter is known as the season of evil, the demons rejoiced at its arrival. The Celtics would throw huge feasts on this day for the evil spirits just so that the spirits would not eat their soul.
Roman Origins Of Halloween
It is often argued that the Halloween originated from the Roman Feast of Pomona. Pomona is a mythical Roman Goddess who is known as the Goddess of fruitful abundance. When Romans entered the Celtic regions, they brought their beliefs and traditions with them. They planted a number of apple-bearing trees in the Celtic regions. This led to the celebration of the feast day of Pomona on the first day of November. The present-day Halloween practice of apple bobbing comes from this Roman tradition.
In 43 AD, Julius Caesar conquered some of the Celtic territories. WIth the invasion of Romans, the Celtic traditions evolved and incorporated several Roman elements. The Celtic Celebration of the ending of the harvest season soon incorporated two Roman festivals. The tribal people, now known as Celts traditionally worshipped gods and nature spirits.
Festival OF Feralia
A Roman celebration known as The Festival Of Feralia used to occur at the end October. The festival of Feralia aimed at honoring the dead people and spirits. Some of the Roman beliefs and practices were the same as the Celtic beliefs and practices. Not only did the Romans fear the Celtic spirits but they also revered them. They were of the belief that on Halloween day, the spirits of the dead wandered about searching for food and other stuff. To show honor to the dead, the Romans would flower wreaths, blossoms, salt, and wine and offer it to the graves of their ancestors. According to the history of Halloween, the Romans feared the dead spirits and didn’t want to face any backlash from them. To avoid any conflict with the evil spirits, they made them offerings.
Legend regarding the Festival Of Feralia
According to a popular legend also verified by the historian Ovid, one year the Roman folks were in a war. Due to their busy war schedule and the engagement in war, they didn’t celebrate the Festival Of Feralia. They forgot to honor the spirits of the dead. The spirits of the dead were infuriated at this humiliation. To avenge their dishonor, they rose from their graves and came out on the streets in huge numbers. The Romans were terrified of this and they swore to never dishonor the spirits of the dead again.
Origin Of Halloween and Christianity
In the middle ages, Christianity started influencing the people in the Celtic areas. The Roman Catholic Church celebrated All Martyrs Day on the first day of November. Around 1000AD, November 2 was marked as All Souls Day to pay tribute to the dead. Many speculate that the All Souls Day was introduced by the Catholic Church to replace the Celtic Festival of New Year. The celebration of All Saints Day had a resemblance to the Celtic celebration of the dead. POn November 2nd, the place would witness huge bonfires, parades, and gatherings which included dressing up as various characters.
Bible and Halloween
Although, there is no direct mention of Halloween in the Bible. The bible has condemned occult practices and witchcraft. Even Though the Bible does not mention Halloween, there are some Halloween traditions that are related to the Bible.
Halloween and USA
With the immigration of several Europeans especially the Irish in America, Halloween was introduced to it. In the Ireland’s potato famine of the nineteenth century, several people from Ireland immigrated to the USA, the land of opportunities.
Hence, Halloween in the US turned out to be an import of sorts. Nonetheless, it is the Americans who celebrate this festival with the most enthusiasm. Many shops and kiosks stock up with spooky scares and costumes for people to purchase. Children go trick or treating in their neighborhoods. Fairs open up on the countryside with apple bobbing and caramelized apples being the star attraction. Furthermore, special Halloween parties are hosted. Haunted houses are set up and run by many opportunistic businessmen. The USA has completely embraced Halloween as if it were its own. Even in American pop culture, Halloween continues to make a grand appearance.
Thus, it is almost as if America marked Halloween on the global calendars!