How did the celebration of Halloween begin? Celebrated every 31st of October, Halloween is the 1st day of the 3-day celebration called “Allhallowtide.” It is then followed by All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and November 2 respectively which are intended as a moment of remembering all the souls of deceased loved ones, martyrs, and the saints. Today, the traditional celebration of candles lit up in the cemeteries and families gathering to pray for the souls of relatives who have already passed away are mashed up with parties and other Halloween events.

The Origin

Halloween came from the word “Hallowe’en” which is the contracted form of Hallows’ Evening. It also goes in several terms such as All Hallows’ Eve, Allhalloween, or All Saints’ Eve. Its origin can be traced back to the festivals of Celtics during harvest such as the Gaelic festival called Samhain.

It is the first day of the “Allhallowtide” which is also known as the Hallowmas season. It was established during the Roman times carried throughout the reign of the Frankish Empire. At the turn of the 11th century, the modern celebration dates of Allhallowtide were popularized headed by Abbot Odilo. Monks and other monasteries, on these days, pray for those who have already passed away.

The Practices Before

Halloween was celebrated first as an adaptation of the Samhain which marks the end of a harvest season and the start of the winter or the year’s “darker half.” This is to make the conversion of Celtics to Christianity easier. The observance of Halloween then runs through several countries all over the world as Christianized by the early churches.

There are some beliefs though which indicates that Halloween did not originate from Samhain. It was also the belief of others that this was the time when the barrier between the real world and the afterlife thinned out. Masks were also worn so people will remain unrecognized by souls. This is where the wearing of costumes originated which popularly symbolizes Halloween in the modern age.

In Poland, for example, the holiday is celebrated by people praying aloud walking in the middle of the forest to comfort the souls of the dead. Spain also commemorates it by ringing the church bells as a signal for its congregation in having a moment to remember the souls.
England celebrated Halloween during the medieval period until the year 1930 wherein groups of Catholic and Protestant “soulers” visit one parish after the other begging rich people soul cakes and they’ll pray for these people’s souls in return. It was only during the 1930s that Halloween became popular in the U.S. when it was first mentioned in a publication nationwide.

The Christian Church, as a whole, celebrated Hallowe’en by having prayer vigils and fasting before the day of the feast. The church service conducted during this moment is called Vigil of All Hallows or Vigil of All Saints. Then, entertainments and other festivities appropriate for the occasion follow and accompanied by visits to the cemetery.

The Practices Now

Today’s celebration of Halloween is always associated with costumes, concerts, events, and a whole lot more of fun festivities that involve both the young and the old. The signature of Halloween for children is the “trick or treating.” It was believed to have originated during the medieval times where “trick” means doing a “threat” in the form of mischievous acts to homeowners who won’t give treats.

There’s also another variant of “trick-or-treating” that is becoming popular called “trunk-or-treating.” In “trunk-or-treating,” children can get treats through an automobile’s trunk. These cars are parked outside of a church or a school and some parents thought of it as safer compared if children will go to one house after the other to collect treats.

As time goes by, Halloween has become the biggest costume party of the year celebrated all over the world. It isn’t limited to the “scary” costumes but it also includes imitations of the famous Hollywood actors, actresses, and singers of all time. Some of these public figures are very popular for adult costumes such as Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. Marvel and DC heroes are the kids’ favorites.

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