Halloween – the Why, How and When Associated with This Festival

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Holiday simply never gets old!

Halloween has officially arrived and there is so much to do. From brainstorming on your Halloween look and spooky costumes to trying out pumpkin carving ideas with the kids and how can one forget eating unfathomable amounts of treats, candy, and chocolate.

One must admit, the way this festival is celebrated is quite intriguing. Especially, the kids these days have a lot of how and why and what about anything and everything that they encounter and then they through all those questions at their parents. But don’t worry, we have got you covered. This article will help you in explaining your curious and inquisitive kid(s) as to how and why this day is celebrated.

Celts introduced the world to Halloween

Halloween has been around for more than 2,000 years now. Its origin dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (which is pronounced as sow-in). The Celts tribe, which usually stayed in the areas that are now known as Ireland, Northern France and the United Kingdom, traditionally celebrated their New Years on November 1.

During those days, winters were wild and deadly, and the onset of the season brought unrest amongst the tribes. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. It was believed that it was a time of the year that was often associated with human deaths which was a reality, but the only difference is that humans used to die of cold weather conditions and not spirits. The tribe had a superstition that on the night before the New Year, i.e. the night of Halloween, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. And so, on this night, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

Celts thought that these spirits were responsible for damaging their crops. The Druids or Celtic priests would resort to predicting future during these times. For people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

The Druids used to put in place a huge sacred bonfire to commemorate the event. People use to offer crops and animals to the Fire God as a sacrifice praying to protect them from the deadly winters. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal skins and heads. After the celebration as a sign of good omen, the locals use to re-light their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

History of Trick-or-Treating

Originally, the great Irish Potato Famine led to the immigration of millions of Irish people to the United States. When the Irish settled there, they started the traditional celebration of Halloween, which slowly picked momentum in the neighbouring regions. And that is how the Americans were introduced to the celebration of Halloween.

Soaking deep into the European traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, and that practice became today’s ‘trick-or-treat’ tradition.

Americans eventually got so fond of this celebration that in the late 1800s, there was a move to mould Halloween into a holiday since it was more about community and neighbourly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. By the end of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Given this huge turn, by the commencement of the 20th century, Halloween had lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones.

Halloween Parties and the Year 2020

Halloween Parties is not a thing that was born yesterday. By 1930s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centred holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as to the featured entertainment.

There was a huge jump in the number of babies/children during the 1950s. Due to these high numbers of young children during the baby boom, parties moved from town civic centres into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. And that is how it all began.

The year 2020 has been nothing but a year full of surprises, mishaps, personal losses and a lot of other negative emotions. But that still cannot take away the vibe of the festivities. The world still prepares to celebrate the onset of the holidays with enthusiasm with a hint of awareness, caution, masks and sanitizers.

Public get-togethers and parties are still off the table but that has not stopped people from arranging for a house-party. Children are already home since schools are yet to start in full capacity. And so, it will be a double celebration for the kids alike.

While such festivals and parties will help humans heal from the traumatic times there is a humble request for all to take all precautions necessary during this festive season.

Happy Halloween! Be safe.


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