As the 31st of October comes around, so does the exciting time of Halloween. Yay! A chance to eat as much chocolate as you like and not feel guilty for once. Halloween isn’t just for kids. In fact, the reason we celebrate the day is far from child-friendly.
Halloween comes from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain was a festival in which people would start bonfires and wear costumes to keep ghosts away. The festival, a pagan event, was believed to be a period in which the barriers between the physical and spirit world would be broken. This meant that humans had the chance to interact with otherworldly beings. Spookey, eh?
So where does the name ‘Halloween’ come from? November 1st was designated to being All Saints Day, by Pope Gregory the 3rd. The day before All Saints’ Day, October 31st, became known as All Hallows Eve. Soon, All Hallows Eve was shortened to become Halloween.
What about pumpkins? Well, pumpkins and other vegetables were carved to use as lights. The Celts used these vegetable lights to show good spirits the way to their homes. So when you’re next carving a pumpkin, just remember what you’re really doing is saying ‘Hey Mr Ghost, come into my house and haunt us for a while’. At least they’re supposed to be good ghosts, if that helps.
Trick or treating has interesting origins, too. This tradition is said to come from children and occasionally poor adults going door to door during Hallowmas (All Saints’ Day). The middle-aged tradition involved people begging their neighbors for food or money in exchange for songs or prayers. For instance, a child would ask for a pastry in exchange for praying for their neighbours dead friends and relatives. Bit different to trick or treating as we know it today!
Have a great Halloween (or Hallows Eve, if you will) from all of us here at Kiwi!
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