Why Do We Celebrate Halloween ?
Halloween is on the last day of October. It is celebrated one day before All Saints Day every year. In the United States, people put carved pumpkins with candles lit inside them on their porches and outside their doors. Some people also decorate their homes with spider webs and scary pictures. Usually, people in the neighborhood leave some candies and treats outside of their door, so that children who come for trick or treat can have them. Haunting and ghost stories are associated with Halloween. However, why and when all this started is uncertain.
Halloween actually began with the ancient Celtic harvest festival that they used to celebrate. Samhain was a festival that was celebrated with the norms of the Gaelic culture. The head of the Celts were the druids, who were priests and were responsible for protecting the tribes. October was the month of harvest for the Celts and the last day of October was also the last day of harvest for them. On this day, the Celts used to have a huge celebration. They used to light big bonfires to mark the end of the harvest season. They wore costumes with animal heads so that they could ward of evil sprits.
However, the harvest festival was in no way associated with All Saints Day in the beginning. In the 7th century, when Christianity began spreading, All Saints or All Souls Day was celebrated on the first day of November. The ancient Celts found the celebrations quite similar to their harvest celebrations and hence, had no qualms about adopting the Christian celebration of All Saints Day. So, Halloween was incorporated into a Christian festival along with All Souls Day.
The concept of trick or treat originated in England. It was common during Christmas for beggars to go from home to home begging for food and articles. People used to give these beggars things and eatables. It is believed that the trick or treat ritual followed by kids in the US came from this practice.
In the United States, the first time the influence of costume was noted in the year 1911. It was only during this time that people started celebrating Halloween. However, the costumes resembled that of witches, spiders and Dracula. Eventually the festival of Halloween became associated with all kinds of spirits and the dead. Also, it became one of the most popular themes for Hollywood horror movies. In reality, there is no association with ghosts and Halloween at all. The day was originally celebrated mainly to honor the dead and to worship the patron saints of Christianity.
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