Halloween always falls on the 31st of October. What is Halloween really about? How did it get started? Here’s a brief history:
When is Halloween 2018?
Halloween falls every year on October 31, which is a Wednesday this year.
It is held the day before All Saints’ Day, which is a Christian festival used to celebrate recognised saints.
Halloween activities typically involve trick or treating, dressing up in fancy dress and carving pumpkins.
HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN
The origin of Halloween can be traced to the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain(pronounced sow-in, which rhymes with cow-in), meaning Summer’s End. This festival celebrated to mark the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the “dark half” of the year. It was a seasonal marker as the ancient Celts bid good-bye to warmth and light as day length shortened.
The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest during Samhain. This had positive benefits as it was an ideal time to consider the dead, communicate with the deceased, and also to divine the future. However, the Celts also believed that this some spirits (ghosts) could pass through the wall and damage their crops. To mark the event, people would build huge bonfires to burn crops.
In later years, the Irish used hollowed-out, candlelit turnips carved with a demon’s face to frighten away spirits. When Irish immigrants in the 1840s found few turnips in the United States, they used the more plentiful pumpkins instead.
Following the Roman Empire’s rule over Celt-occupied lands in the 1st century A.D., the Romans incorporated many of the Celtic traditions, including Samhain, with their own.
Eight hundred years later, the Roman Catholic Church further modified Samhain, designating November 1 as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning to sanctify, or make holy.
All Saints’ Day is known in England as All Hallows’ Day. The evening before, October 31, is known as All Hallows’ Eve, the origin of the American word Halloween!