October 31 is Halloween, the day dedicated to scary masks, carved pumpkins, witches, bats, or everything difficult. As we know it today, this festival was born in the United States in the twentieth century with the tradition of children going from house to house the night between October 31. And also on November 1, disguised as monstrous creatures. And pronouncing the famous ritual “Trick or treat? “But that Halloween is a holiday with ancient origins and was born as a completely different recurrence from how we know it today. Here is an in-depth study of the sources, history, and curiosities. And secrets of the so-called witches’ night.
Where does Halloween come from?
In its current form, Halloween is made up of various Christian and pagan influences. Other modern Halloween traditions were added in the United States.
Halloween arrived in America via Irish immigrants around 1830. While the festival grew in popularity in the US, it was all but forgotten in Europe. Initially, the first Halloween customs seem to have come from the Celts. Who held an annual festival called Samhain in honor of the God of the dead at the beginning of the dark season. They believed that evil spirits, demons, and the deceased could enter the earthly world from the realm of the dead during this time. These could be driven out with fire. To avoids being recognized, the Celts wrapped themselves in disguises.
Suppose one considers the name “Halloween.” In that case, another theory also comes into question: Halloween is derived from “All Hallows’ Eve,” which means the eve of All Saints’ Day, which is a Christian festival.
History of Halloween
In reality, Halloween is not a holiday imported from the United States as many think: its history and origins are all European, more precisely, Celtic. Throughout history, until it becomes the horror-colored party that we all know.
The history of Halloween is traditionally linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. It is a word that derives from the ancient Irish and roughly means “end of summer”: the Celts. In fact, like many other ancient peoples, they measured time-based on the seasons and harvest cycles. And Samhain was the festival that marked the transition from late summer to early winter and the time for the last harvest before the cold season arrived. For this reason, Samhain was the most important holiday for the Celts and was considered in the same way as our New Year.
Finally, it was imported to America thanks to the intense Irish migrations of the 19th century to the current United States. In the end, becoming Halloween, and we celebrate it today over time.
How did Halloween get it’s name?
Is there a connection between All Saints Day and Halloween?
Halloween is the celebration of the eve of All Saints’ Day on the night of October 31st to November 1st, which is celebrated primarily in Ireland and North America. In any case, the word “Halloween” goes back to the word “All Hallows’ Eve.” A Celtic origin is also suspected, and today it often competes with Reformation Day, which coincides with it. But this doe not make Halloween a Christian holiday.
According to British scholars, Halloween was thus also associated with All Saints’ Day. According to popular lore, Jack O’ Latern is the connection between All Saint Day and Halloween. He was tricked into escaping Hell, but the door was closed when he got to Heaven. Jack was doomed to wander between hell and heaven forever. He was traveling with a candle in a hollowed-out turnip. Hence the custom of cutting out and illuminating grimace pumpkins.
Irish emigrants brought the custom to the United States and Canada in the 19th century. Still, due to its appeal, it was soon adopted by the children of other immigrants and became an important folk festival. After the Second World War, the Halloween custom returned to Europe from North America. Now celebrated in an even more commercialized and modified form.
The restoration of Halloween: an apologetic feast
Martin Luther, the Reformer, had informed his superiors of his many points of disagreement with the practices of the Church. Such as the sale of indulgences (exploitation of popular superstitions, according to him). Someone would then have posted his famous “95 theses” on the night of October 31, 1517, on the door of the chapel of Wittenberg, where many pilgrims would flock the next day to go and venerate relics.
Also, many Protestants prefer celebrating the “Feast of the Reformation” rather than Halloween (too pagan). Or All Saints Day (too Catholic). They are not necessarily wrong: Halloween has become a commercial holiday, an avatar of festive, symbolizing fear and an opportunity to play tricks.
However, Halloween offers possibilities for those who want to take the opportunity of a cultural phenomenon to testify to their faith, as one might be on May 8 or July 14. If your motivation is comparable to that of Martin Luther or Paul in Athens ( Acts 17:16), then your goal must be to make God known for the sake of your neighbor.
More curiosities about Halloween
Halloween and All Saints’ Day: How long can you celebrate Halloween?
Where All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1st, this impacts the Halloween parties the night before. Because All Saints’ Day is a so-called “silent holiday” and ends most Halloween parties in the Catholic federal states. The regulations vary from state to state. In North Rhine-Westphalia, public dance events and loud music in pubs and discos are prohibited from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nightly Halloween parties end at 5 a.m. at the latest.
What does Halloween mean?
As we have seen, Halloween derives from the ancient pagan festival of Samhain. However, with the advent of Christianity, this was transformed into the day of all saints (known as All Saints Day). The exact name of Halloween is linked to the feast of All Saints, as it derives from “All Hallow’s Eve.” In English ancient meant “eve of all saints.” But all of this being said, Halloween is still not considered a Christian holiday.
In addition to the pumpkin, another symbol of Halloween are bats: during the Samhain festival, the Celts built bonfires to attract insects and, consequently, bats. But the medieval superstitions about this nocturnal animal, associated with witches and darkness, will transport it to the neo-gothic myth of Halloween, just like for black cats.
The story of Jack-o’-lantern
One of the iconic symbols of Halloween is the carved pumpkin, widely used as a decoration of houses. But this tradition has its roots in an ancient Irish legend: that of the Jack-o’-lantern. According to the story, Jack was an Irish blacksmith. He managed to deceive the devil several times but paid a very high price in the end: rejected by both heaven and hell. Jack was forced to wander like a ghost in the living world for eternity. It is said that on the night of Halloween, Jack wanders the streets in search of shelter. And hanging a lighted pumpkin outside his house makes it possible to indicate to Jack that there is no place for him.
Another icon of the night of Halloween is the full moon. In reality, it is scarce that this moon phase falls on October 31, so please be careful.
The “tradition of trick or treat.”
Trick or treat is the ritual formula for children; after dressing up in costumes, they announce themselves at the neighbors’ door. They are claiming sweets and candies. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages and refers to the practice of almsgiving: on All Saints’ Day, beggars went from door to door, receiving food in exchange for prayers for deceased loved ones.
Even the Halloween costumes come from a custom handed down by the Celts: the night of October 31 was dedicated to sacrifices. And, in the three days following the party, the skins of dead animals were worn to exorcise. And to scare the spirits returned to earth from darkness.
Even if Halloween is not a Christian holiday, if the children are going to trick or treat you, you should prepare yourself with some candies as a thanksgiving gesture. While you wait for them to open your door, you should pray to God to send the blessings and protection of the twelve tribes of Israel while you light up the following Jewish Candle Holder from Amazon.
- According to an American tradition, on the eve of Halloween, you can find out how long you will live by peeling an apple without interrupting. The longer the strip of peel, the longer your life will be.
- Do you want to know the face of your future husband? According to an ancient Scottish ritual, all you need to do is lay wet sheets before a fire on Halloween night.
- If you wear your clothes inside out and walk backward on Halloween night, you will be able to see a witch. Do you dare to try?
Halloween is not a Christian holiday. It derives only from Samhain, one of the four pre-Christian Gaelic holidays. It was held every year in honor of the end of the harvest. And the arrival of winter on Halloween night (today): October 31. This festival had an essential connection with the cult of the dead and the afterlife, which is why it was associated with the night of All Saints in Christian times. But the main essence is that Halloween is not a Christian festival; it’s just related to All Saints Day.
For some Muslim or Christian believers, Halloween is not a Christian holiday but a pagan one. And some even associate it with Satanism. Because of their conviction, they oppose these celebrations and avoid letting their children go door to door.