Halloween has been an official holiday in the US since 1921 and is one of the most popular days of the year for children. Halloween has a pretty interesting and spooky history, dating back thousands of years. The holiday has transformed from a rather strange night of superstition, into the playful, family-centered we know today. But why do we celebrate Halloween day? Why do we trick-or-treat for candy? If you’re curious, scroll down and we’ll answer all your questions.
Why Do We Celebrate Halloween Day?
Amidst the Halloween party games and sugar rushes, have you ever wondered why do we celebrate Halloween day and what its history is?
About 2,000 years ago, the end of October always marked an important time of year for the first Europeans, mainly people of Gaelic (pre-Irish) and Scottish descent. On October 31 every year, they hold the Samhain festival to celebrate the harvest season.
It marks an important time of year when the seasons change, but more importantly, observers also believe that the line between this world and the next becomes especially thin at this time, allowing them to connect with the dead.
Although this may sound dreadful, pagans don’t fear death and are instead accepted as a part of life, and they use this time to respect and honor the dead. During the celebration, the souls of the recently departed are invited to participate in the ceremony. There is also dressing and dancing, and bonfires are often lit.
Today, we still follow a lot of spooky traditions on Halloween such as dressing up, carving pumpkins, and enjoying delicious food. In the UK, it is common to hold parties to celebrate the event, which is a great occasion to get together for fun and Halloween games.
Is Halloween A Religious Celebration?
In Christianity, Halloween is called All Hallows’ Eve. It is the day before All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day. The name comes from Old English, the term ‘hallowed’ meaning holy or sanctified, and it is believed that the name Halloween was taken from here.
After Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel to all saints at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the 8th Century, the Western church now celebrates All Saints’ Day on November 1. Traditionally, the Church holds a vigil on All Hallows’ Eve, where they will prepare themselves for prayers and fasting before the feast day itself.
Now you know why we do celebrate Halloween Day. In the next parts, I’ll explain to you why we dress up and why we trick and treat on Halloween.
Why Do We Dress Up?
Halloween costumes are said to have been inspired by Samhain, as masquerade was an important part of pagan festivals. Traditionally, the Celts believed that the barrier between the worlds was broken during the celebration of Samhain and that they would dress up as animals and monsters so that the fairies would not be lured into kidnapping them.
It is believed that dressing up as a ghost can trick the spirits into thinking they are one of them, so they can enjoy the festival without fear.
Over time, young Scots and Irish tricksters would start dressing up in spooky costumes, poking fun at their friends and neighbors. But fast forward to the US of the 1950s, when the whole holiday became much more popular. An evening for the family, with more colorful and creative costumes appeared.
Some choose to be iconic horror characters, others choose to be pagan symbols like cats, witches, and monsters. Others choose to become superheroes and fairies. All in all, it’s a great time of year to get creative and have fun.
Why Do We Go Trick Or Treating?
We hear a lot about the concept of Trick or Treat but do you know why we trick and treat? This custom dates back to the Samhain period and it is very common for children to do this. It is believed that trick-or-treating evolved from a ritual where people dressed in ghostly costumes, performed dances and got food to appease evil spirits.
In Scotland and Ireland, children and young people would visit homes and sing, recite a poem or perform another kind of ‘trick’ before receiving a gift of nuts, fruit, wine or coins. This may be where the term ‘trick or treat’ comes from, as we know it in modern times.
Then, in 1920s North America, kids would play tricks with their neighbors, following in the footsteps of the original immigrants. They were quickly chased out with sweets and candies – much to their delight. This may be where the term ‘trick or treat’ comes from, as we know it in modern times.
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins?
When it comes to Halloween, it is impossible not to mention the ghost lights carved on pumpkins. But have you ever wondered why people carve pumpkins on Halloween? Well, it is said to have originated from an Irish myth about a guy named Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil for his own gain. When he died, he was denied entry to both Heaven and Hell, and had to roam Earth forever.
With nowhere to go, Jack shoveled the insides of turnips and filled them with glowing coals, allowing him to roam at night. The names “Jack of the Lantern”, or Jack O’Lantern also started from this legend. From this fairy tale, kids and adults would scoop out turnips, beets, or potatoes and set them aglow on Hallows’ Eve to ward off evil characters like Jack.
However, when Irish immigrants moved to America, they started using pumpkins because they originated in this country. It is believed that pumpkin has replaced other vegetables as the glow pot of choice.
Halloween is really an exciting time of year for everyone, especially children, as it encourages us to be creative and have fun with our loved ones. Not to mention, all the Halloween treats you can enjoy. To make the holiday even more interesting, this year, explain to the kids why do we celebrate Halloween Day, the origin of Halloween, and tell fun stories.
Best Halloween Gifts That Impress Anyone
In addition, you can also surprise your friends and family with unique Halloween gifts to make the holiday more special. Like the t-shirts below for example:
In A World Full Of Princesses Be A Witch Halloween Shirt$15.99
Halloween Shirt Winnie I Smell A Child Hocus Pocus$15.99
Red Head BBW Shirt Redhead BBW Halloween$15.99
Black Cat Shirt Cat Pumpkin Halloween$15.99
Cat Shirt Cat Skull Pumpkin Halloween$15.99
Halloween Nurse Shirt Boo Bees Ghost$15.99