Halloween Countdown with Molly Weir: Day 14

Oct. 14 

In my previous articles, I explained the history of jack-o’-lanterns, trick or treating, and costumes. However, I realized that I never explain the actual history of Halloween itself. This article will explain just that.

To begin, the word “Halloween” actually means “hallowed evening.” In early European celebrations, it was known as All Hallow’s Eve. 

Up until the seventh century, All Hallow’s Eve fell on May 13. In efforts to have the holiday intertwine with a religious celebration, Pope Boniface IV made the decision to change the date to Nov. 1 to fall before All Saints Day. 

Due to the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, Halloween falls on Oct. 31. It marks the  time of year when the seasons change and people believe the boundary between this world and the next becomes thin, which would allow connections between the living and the dead. 

As stated in my previous article, during the festival of Samhain, the Celts would dress in costume to hide their faces from the spirits. They also would have lanterns made out of hollowed turnips and pumpkins. 

Over time, as Christianity was on the rise, many of the pagan traditions were slowly left out. The basic traditions have altered to follow pop culture and were overall modernized.

Many people are unaware of where Halloween actually came from. Even if it started as a religious holiday, society has altered it so much that those traditions have been left out. 

Until next time, have a spooky day!

Samhain festival celebrated in 1833 courtesy of Wikimedia

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