Skeletons, ghouls and ghosts: Halloween is nearly upon us, and with it, a number of strange and bizarre traditions. Halloween has evolved quickly in the United States, from a harvest holiday brought over from Ireland by immigrants, to a celebration for children around World War II, back around to a holiday that embraces grown-up participation in the last few decades. For Indians it is still a fancy western festivity. Lets learn more about it.
WHEN? OCT 31ST
HALLOWEEN marks the darkening days of the second half of the Celtic year. On the modern calendar, this corresponds with Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, believed that the dead returned to earth on Samhain on this date.
According to many scholars, Samhain was a day — and they thought of it magically —when fairies or imps or supernatural beings would come out of the countryside, out of the hills and devastate the crops, and they were foreboding death in some ways, the death of the vegetation.
It was in the 1970s that the commercialization of Halloween really took off, Rogers said. Stores started selling costumes and candy well in advance of Oct. 31. Meanwhile, the holiday’s adult side became more entrenched, with grown-ups dressing up for their own soirees. Meanwhile, pubs, bars and restaurants realized that they could capitalize on Halloween with holiday promotions.
“It becomes a kind of segmented holiday,” Rogers said. “It has a kiddie side and then it has a young adult side to it.”
WHAT & WHERE?
It is observed in several countries like the United States, Canada, England, and Italy. It is also celebrated in some Asian countries like Japan, Philippines and Singapore in a varied form.
Halloween begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide. Allhallowtide is comprised of three Christian observances of All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day, which last from October 31 to November 2, annually. Allhallowtide is a period to “remember the dead, including martyrs, saints and all faithfully departed Christians.”
People often ask, “What is the origin of Halloween?” Halloween is a contraction of the term “All Hallows’ Eve,” the day before the feast of All Hallows’. Halloween is popular among both children and adults. In fact, the adults themselves begin acting like children because the festival spirit is so contagious!
The main event for the children on Halloween is “trick-or-treating,” in which children, teenagers, young adults, and parents disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door in their neighborhoods. They ring the doorbell and yell, “Trick or treat!” to get a gift of candy or chocolates.
Though most people celebrate Halloween in a good spirit, there is a dark side to the festival, as well. Some people indulge in vandalism on Halloween causing damage to people and property.
Children listen to the stories that their parents tell them and understand the concepts of good and evil. This is how legacy is handed down from one generation to another. This is important because as we go careening into the future we must be tethered to our past, as well. A big part of who we are today is based on who we were in the past.
On this note, we wish you all a Happy Halloween from the TalkingPeppers Family!