Halloween is celebrated in Western countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, Scotland, the United States of America, and numerous European countries every year on October 31, the eve of All Saints Day.
The day is marked with strange celebrations and is celebrated all around the world. People dress up as ghosts, witches, zombies, and fictional characters for Halloween, and parades, parties, and get-togethers are held.
Why is October 31st designated as Halloween?
In regions like the United Kingdom and Ireland, it was widely believed that supernatural beings — or the dead — could visit Earth on the eve of All Saint’s Day every year. The Celtics, a collection of Central European tribes, hold similar beliefs. They marked October 31 as the eve of New Year’s celebrations, believing that the lines between the living and the dead blurred on that day. On October 31, the Celtic harvest season came to a close with a festival called ‘Soin.’
To drive the dead back to the spirit realm and keep them away from the living, agrarian villages would gather, ignite bonfires, and have a good time. Pagan festivals like Soin were prohibited when the Catholic Church’s influence spread in Europe.
In the 7th century, the Vatican merged it with a church-sanctioned feast.
Why do people dress up as ghosts on Halloween?
Dressing up as mythical beings is a Celtic tradition. On Halloween, people dress up as horribly as possible to avoid being recognized by bad spirits. The Celtics would wear scary masks to avoid any encounters with the undead.
What exactly is trick or treating?
Trick or treating developed in the United States in the second half of the 1930s, when Irish and English Halloween traditions affected Americans. Trick or treating involves going door to door in spooky costumes and begging for food or money.
Parents are said to have coined the phrase “trick or treat” to safeguard their children from being misled by giving them candy.
It was thought that the ghost may appear in people’s homes as a beggar, begging for food or money (treat) and that if they refused, they would face the spirit’s anger. According to another belief, if you dress like a ghost, the spirits will believe you are one of them and will not hurt you.
A well-known cultural component of Halloween is the lighting of “jack-o-lanterns,” which people nowadays carve on pumpkins. According to mythology, during Halloween, the Celts built temporary lanterns in their dwellings out of potatoes or turnips to summon good spirits.
The festival is now well-known in almost every country on the planet. China, Japan, and India are among the Asian countries where it is frequently observed.