Happy Halloween everyone!
Halloween is one of my absolute FAVOURITE holidays. Why? Well I’ll tell you it’s not just because of the free candy and it being socially acceptable to walk to class dressed like Bigfoot, but the blissful ignorance people seem to have about Halloween, forgetting its Celtic roots.
According to http://www.history.com/topics/halloween the origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The day marked the end of summer and harvest and welcomed the coming darkness, the cold winter, which is often associated with the death of humans. On the evening of Samhain, they believed that the dead could come back and walk among the living because the veil between this world and the next was the thinnest it would be all year. Halloween (also known as All Hallows Eve) came to America on the wings of the Europeans but was not celebrated very often because of all the negative stereotyping and superstitions like witches turning into cats to avoid being seen. Nevertheless, it gained popularity everywhere and people celebrated by reading fortunes, singing and dancing as the Celtics did over 2,000 years ago. Now people still party along with giving out popular candy to children who come door-to-door trick or treating and make other treats with friends like candy apples topped with nuts and caramel corn. Of course, we cannot forget bobbing for apples! (You can read about its back story on the website provided above). By the way, while speaking of candy, did you know that one quarter of all candy purchased in the United States is for Halloween?
But what about witchy rumours?
There are those who do celebrate Halloween in different ways:
In Mexico, Latin America and Spain All Souls’ Day begins on October 31st and continues for three days until November 2nd. Candles and incense are burned to honour the dead and to help them find their way home. In England, bonfires are lit and fireworks go off, creating a beautiful sight against the black sky. And Pagan peoples around the world celebrate this holiday that they are most associated with by decorating their house with autumn leaves and flowers, small pumpkins and decorative gourds. They also take solitary baths and share cakes and wines but, more commonly, muffins and cider.
I love Halloween because of its rich history. And, possibly, that it frightened me so much as a young child. Yes…I was that kid. Nonetheless I found ways to get overcome my fear and now it is one of my favourite holidays besides Thanksgiving and Christmas, both rich with family time that I am beginning to really appreciate now that I am away for school.