It is a fun time of year for most of us, I’m sure; the costumes, the parties & encouraging our little ones to knock on strangers doors and ask for sweets even though we warn them of STRANGER DANGER… however I have come to notice that a lot of us don’t really know the real reasoning behind Halloween anymore & it saddens me that such a Historical Event is being masked (pun intended) by kids/dogs in cute outfits.
Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve as it is also known, originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain; a time when people would light bonfires and wear masks or costumes to scare off ghosts. They celebrated their new year on November 1st so Hallow’s Eve was a very important night for all. It marked the end of summer & the beginning of the horrendous weather which often resulted in many deaths of all kinds – hence our Halloween costumes & movies being associated with it. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. They believed that the spirits would be responsible for the crops being destroyed & their family members dying as well as their animals… (Of course we know it was due to bad weather, lack of hygiene & medical knowledge). They celebrated Samhain as it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth to cause mayhem & the Celts would wear masks/costumes and dance around fires filled with animals & crops they had sacrificed, hoping that this would scare the spirits all back to where they came from. When the celebration was over they would relight the fires in the hearths of their homes using the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming cold winter.
As time went on the traditions were added to & exaggerated and thanks to the media & retail enterprise, Halloween is now one of the biggest celebrations in the world!
Just remember to stay safe, stay in groups & stay vigilant; no one really knows who’s behind that mask…