I am too old for costumes and trick-or-treating, but while pretending to be frightened by zombies, ghosts and the giggling children underneath the costumes, it made me wonder why we go through these bizarre rituals of dressing as monsters and carving faces into pumpkins every year…
Halloween was originally the Celtic festival of Samhain (which roughly translated means ‘summer’s end’). The Celts celebrated New Year’s Day on November 1st and Samhain was a way to mark the ‘death’ of each year and the advent of winter.
It was also thought that the spirits of the dead would wander the earth on this day and that they were able to possess the bodies of the living people. In order to chase away the spirits, people would dress in scary costumes and cover their faces with masks. Now we just do it to scare each other!
With the rise in Christianity, Samhain was renamed All Hallows Eve which eventually over time became Halloween.
So there it is, the shortened story of how and why people celebrate Halloween. I think I’ve had enough vampires, werewolves and pumpkins to last another year at least!