The History of Halloween

Yes, yes, these days Halloween means getting drunk in an absurd costume and binging on chocolate. And while that’s all good and fun (for the most part), have we ever stopped to wonder why exactly we find ourselves dressed up in the first place?  Believe it or not, Halloween was not created for the sole purpose of partying. Here’s a quick history lesson so that, while we’re out running around College Ave in our short leather skirts and cat ears, we can at least know its for a good reason.


THE BASICS

Halloween originated from the Celtic holiday of Samhain (summer’s end), a celebration of the end of the Harvest season, and the beginning of Winter on November 1st. Because this day marked the start of darkness and cold, the celebration revolved largely around death and mystery.

The Celts believed that on the day before the new year (Oct 31), the boundaries between the living and the dead were erased. They believed ghosts, demons, and other evil spirits could haunt the earth and ruin their crops. To ward off the unwanted presence, the Celts dressed in costume (to hide their identity from the spirits), lit bonfires, and sacrificed animals and crops. They left food on their door steps for the underworld, hoping it would keep them from being harmed.

    The holiday continued to evolve when the catholic church began to erase Pagan traditions, and renamed November 1st All Saints Day to celebrate lost loved ones. All Hallows Eve (Oct. 31st) became the day to feast. Despite the catholic church’s attempts to rid the world of the Samhain traditions, people still dressed up, offered food, and celebrated the spirits of the underworld.

Over time, Halloween emerged. Communities began hosting parades, dressing in more elaborate costumes, and instead of leaving meals on their doorsteps, families went door to door for candy. Now, modern day Halloween has almost completely veered from it’s spiritual and religious origins.

 

    OTHER HALLOWEEN BELIEFS

Satanism today sees Halloween as a day to explore the inner-self through costume.

    Wiccan religion still calls the holiday Samhain, and uses October 31st as a day to have seances in honor of people whom they’ve lost within the past year. They set up an altar in their homes, decorated with skulls, candles and  incense, and repeat chants.

via dailywicca.com

via dailywicca.com

So, the holiday that has become ever-so Americanized actually has a deeper, more meaningful background. Don’t let this ruin your Halloweekend fun, but do know that this is more than just a party--it’s a time of remembrance, new beginnings, and a welcome for Winter.

Creep it real, my friends

xx, nikki

@nikkimogar


 

SOURCES

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

http://reclaimingspiraldance.org/about-3/the-real-meaning-of-halloween/

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/ht/Harvest_End.htm