Halloween also referred to as All Hallows’ Eve, among many other names. It is celebrated in many countries on the Thirty first of October. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in Christian year dedicated to remembering the dead.
Though Halloween started as what could deemed a religious festivity. It has now evolved into an even that has become an integral part of the current popular culture influencing even movies.
How Halloween began
Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts celebrated their New year on the 1st of November, which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, a time often associated with death. On the night of 31st October, the Celts have believed, that the lines between the world of the living and the dead have blurred. They would wear costumes and light bonfires in an attempt to ward off the ghosts. With the spread of Christianity to the Celtic lands, it has believed that the church has attempted to replace the Celtic festival with a church-sanction holiday, All Saints Day. The All Saint’s day celebration was also famous All-Hallows. And the night before came to be popular as All-Hallows – Eve and eventually, Halloween.
Halloween comes to North America
Halloween had initially limited to colonial new England, Maryland, and other southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different ethnic groups meshes, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.
Food on Halloween
Many Western Christian denominations encourage the consumption of vegetarian food and abstinence from meat. As Halloween comes in the wake of apple harvest in the northern hemisphere. Candy apples and caramel apples made by rolling apples in sticky sugar syrup. Followed by rolling them in nuts became a popular Halloween treat. There are also other items like pies, cakes, roast pumpkin seeds, soul cakes among many others that are common on Halloween.
Trick or Treating
Borrowing from European traditions, Americans began to dress in costumes. And go house to house asking for food or money. And has considered an inexpensive way for the community to share the celebration. The tradition since then has evolved into children visiting different houses, dressed up in costumes, to collect candy.
As a part of the recent culture, some houses decide to decorate their exteriors with ‘haunted attractions’ or decorations as a means of communicating their participation in this tradition.
Costumes and popular imagery
Along with skeletons and black cats, the holiday has incorporated scary beings such as ghosts, witches, vampires, etc. This imagery, since, has evolved into a plethora of characters that are now deemed as scary.
Another important imagery of this festival is the ‘Jack – o lantern’ which is a hollowed-out Pumpkin (originally a turnip) carved into a demonic face and lit with a candle inside. Its name comes from the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs and is also tied to the Irish legend of stingy Jack (a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way).
Also read, La Tomatina