Since Halloween is fast approaching, this week’s post is all about Halloween. We go into the detail of how Halloween came about, apparently it is irish (?) and on top of that, we have spoken to Tania Beck about her Halloween experiences! Hang around if you dare..
Halloween is an annual celebration celebrated in numerous countries. Although the meaning of Halloween has disappeared over time, I think it’s about time for all of us to take a step back and appreciate how Halloween first came about.
Halloween originated in paganism but has been influenced by various different cultures over time. However, almost all Halloween traditions can be traced back to the ‘Celtic Day of the Dead‘. The Celtic Festival was initially observed on the 31st of October. The souls of the dead were supposedly revisiting their homes on this day. People believed all kinds of ghosts, demons, witches, etc. were roaming about on the streets. Halloween customs have inevitably been influenced greatly by the Western culture. Ironically, Halloween was not celebrated in America because of its strong Christian background. In fact, it was widely celebrated in Ireland, which is the only place where Halloween is still an actual national holiday and celebrated with fireworks. This custom sees Irish school children being released from school for the week. Thus, it not not just an evening of celebrations in Ireland. Frankly, the whole notion of ‘Halloween’ is an Irish holiday with some early origins from the Celtic winter festival. In American culture however, the increase in the popularity of Halloween coincides with the rise of the interest in spiritualism that began in 1848.
Halloween if notorious for its ‘trick or treating’ tradition nowadays but interestingly enough, the tradition was not part of Halloween initially. Most of the traditions that are associated with Halloween today are adapted from various different festivals. The practice of wearing costumes or masks during this celebration took place at the end of a ‘Celtic year’. People would impersonate evil spirits, as it was believed that during the transition from one year to the next, the spirits of the dead would be allowed to roam on the Earth again. They believed that by dressing up as evil spirits, they would be able to exorcize the real spirits. As for trick or treating, poor people would beg for food or money in exchange for prayers and songs. The people found themselves going from house to house on October 31. They demanded specific types of food when approaching the houses and if their demands were not met, it was believed that those people and their homes would be cursed with trouble, death and sickness. Prosperity and success was promised amongst those who donated generously. This idea was slowly developed and trick or treating popped up in North America. The notion of ‘trick or treating’ began to slowly spread and find its way into Scotland and Ireland in the late 19yth or early 20th century.
Needless to say that over the years Halloween has became a rather exasperating and for some irritating custom. You will find people pretending they’re not at home or in my case and from my experience, notes on the door that say ‘if you knock on my door the devil will come and find you’, which, if you are an innocent young soul, WILL actually scare you.
Now to get a first hand opinion about Halloween in this era I have spoken to Tania Beck about her Halloween experiences. Please listen below!