Friday, October 30, 2015

History behind Halloween

On 31 October, people don outfits, carve pumpkins, trick-or-treat - - but why? Well I wrote this previous post about Halloween Decorations and some people asked me what is Halloween. It appears so that I never did a post about the history of Halloween. So here it is what I found.


The post could appear a little biased but at least this post would give you guys a basic idea about Halloween, rituals, origin etc. ENJOY! 


What is the history behind Halloween?


The origin of the festival is sourced by both pagan and Christian practices that have evolved into what Halloween is like today. The word 'Halloween' probably came from 'Hallowed evening', and is the day before All Hallows Day - also known as All Saints' Day.

Some also believe that it originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning 'Summer's End' which celebrated the end of harvest season. Their ancestors believed that it was a time of the year when the walls between our world and the next became thin and porous, allowing spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and damage their crops.


The origins of trick or treating and dressing up was also their in the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people went door-to-door in costume asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead!


On the day places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. People also offer food and drink to the souls and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits. The Christian origin of the holiday was set in the eighth century as well. They would honour saints and pray for souls who have not yet reached heaven, on Halloween.

Why do we dress up and go trick-or-treating?

Ancient people dressed up in white with blackened faces during the festival of Samhain to trick the evil spirits that they believed would be roaming the earth before All Saints' Day on 1 November.


By the 11th century, this practice had been adapted by the Church into a tradition called 'souling', which is the origin of current trick-or-treating. Children go door-to-door, asking for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of friends and relatives. They went dressed up as angels, demons or saints.


The soul cakes were sweet, with a cross marked on top; when eaten they represented a soul being freed from purgatory.In the 19th century, souling gave way to guising or mumming, when children would offer songs, poetry and jokes - instead of prayer - in exchange for fruit or money, while wearing costumes.

Adventurous Costumes 

In Victorian ages, they were influenced by gothic themes including bats and ghosts. Later, costumes became influenced by pop culture. Now you may see a costume of Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, The Vampire Diaries Costumes for the adults and ban 10, Alice in Wonderland, Hallow Kitty Costumes for the kids.


Why do we carve pumpkins?

The carving of pumpkins also seems to originates from the Samhain festival, difference is people use to carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses. Now a days people carve pumpkins and lit candles or lights in these.


Jack O'Lantern is actually came from the folkloric story of Stingy Jack, who fooled the devil into buying him a drink. He was not let into heaven or hell - and when he died, the devil threw him a burning ember which he kept in a turnip.


Halloween Decorations

People decorate their houses with spooky and weird stuff that may include certain types of colors, lighting and material. The holiday is turning into a complete fun package for those who love to do spooky things or enjoy decorating their houses using uncanny imagination. For cute last minute ideas visit - Last minute decoration ideas for Halloween


Thanks for reading. Use #MSaysHalloween on any social media to tag me on your Halloween Posts. :) 

Mugdha 

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