Published on October 8th, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie0
Halloween: When The Living And The Dead Unite
Halloween Photo By Anthony92931 Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence
The doorbell rings and the occupants answer to be greeted by diminutive people wearing masks. Outstretched hands with sugar cravings beckon to be satisfied. At any other time of the year such behaviours would be considered very strange, but not on the 31st of October. Halloween afterall, is a time for children, sweets and chocolate.
The Tradition Of Halloween
Halloween traditionally celebrated on October 31, originated from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain which was celebrated at the end of the harvest season.
It was generally a time for stocking up supplies for the winter. The Celts also believed that it was a period when the demarcation between the living and the dead dissipated and the dead could become a danger to the living, as their ghosts came back to haunt the living.
Bonfires were lit with crops and the bones of dead animals thrown onto it as sacrifice, the tradition of bonfires still lives on. Meanwhile the custom of wearing masks was born of the belief that it would placate the dead or in some cases frighten the evil spirits away.
The Spread Of Halloween
The spread of Christianity saw Pope Boniface, the IV, dedicate November 1, as All Saints Day, or Hallowmas. Hallow means to sanctify. Gradually October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve, and so gradually Halloween was born.
Pope Boniface declared the feast day to offset the pagan tradition of Samhain, however many of the pagan traditions remain to this day. Two of the most popular Halloween activities are trick or treating and dressing up in costumes. Even the adults like to get in the act and can be seen dressed up at Halloween fancy dress parties.