I find it odd that so many people, especially Christian people, refuse to celebrate Halloween.
This is why:
(A.N.: Yes, I still plan to write about the things I keep mentioning (I just finished a few books this past week, so those will be mentioned), but I also plan on doing a semi-review of Ni No Kuni as I mentioned.
Halloween has it’s origins in the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Roman festivals of Feralia and Pomona, the Pope Boniface IV’s declaration of All Saints Day which became All Saints Day via Pope Gregory III (also known as All Hallows Day), and finally became a mostly secular holiday largely due to American influence.
Quick rundown of the important bits:
- Halloween/Hallowe’en: Did not appear as a phrase for the celebration until 1745 and is of Christian origin. 1556 was the first occurence of All Hallow’s Eve
- Samhain (Sow-in): [Gaelic/Welsh/Irish/Pagan influence] Ancient Celtic festival for celebrating essentially new year’s eve. Literally Old Irish for “summer’s end.” The Celts saw November 1st as new year due to it being the end of the summer month, and the beginning of the cold weather that would often lead to a lot of death. It was also believed that the gap between the living and spirit world blurred on this night, and the ghosts of the dead returned to cause trouble and damage crops. This time was also seen as the best time for the Druids to make prophecies about the future. The festivities included lighting a large bonfire, animal and crop sacrifices (via said fire) to Celtic deities, and wearing costumes (mostly animal heads and skins).
- Roman Empire: Combined Feralia and Pomona with Samhain when Celtic land was conquered and ruled for more than 400 years. Feralia was the day for commemorating the passing of the dead. Pomona was in celebration of the goddess of fruits, trees, and seeds. Pomona’s symbol was the apple, and that is what is theorized as the reasoning for why “bobbing” for apples became custom.
- Pope Boniface IV: Dedicated the Pantheon in honor of all Christian martyrs. The Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day came to the Western Church.
- Pope Gregory III: Expanded the honor of Boniface to include all saints and martyrs. That became All Souls Day to blend with Celtic origin as a Church-sanctioned festival. That later evolved to what we know of today as All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween.
- American Influence: Puritan settlers originally rejected the festival, but as America saw a blend of immigrants and different people, the holiday slowly evolved into being secular.
- Trick-or-treating/Souling/Guising: Multiple influences for the same practice. Candy has become the luxury when before the door to door activities were to ask for food.
- Pumpkins/Jack-o-Lanterns: Pumpkins were native to America, so rather than the old custom of carving turnips, pumpkins became the norm due to being softer and easier to carve. The Jack-o-Lantern has a bit of a dark background as a soul bound to wander the earth for eternity because it has been denied entry into both Heaven and Hell. I won’t get too much into detail in that one cause I don’t know it as well, but it’s really dark. I definitely suggest reading the Irish Christian folktale.
I’ve read across multiple sources, and unfortunately it was recreational reading before I decided to write about it, so I don’t have sources for all of this. A quick Google search for Halloween’s origins will get you most of this information though. It was just a post mostly for fun and maybe a little bit of fact sharing. Obviously, there’s also a lot more to this history, but as I said, just trying to do something quick and possibly insightful. It was mostly due to my coworker being the first person to legitimately tell me he doesn’t allow his kids to celebrate Halloween and it almost confused me.
Now I’m off to treat myself to a day of debauchery!