Annually, the 31st of October marks the celebration of “Halloween”; but did you know that this traditional festival has been around for 2000 years? It originated from the ancient Celtic celebrations of Samhain, held on the date that we now know of; the Celtics used bonfires and wore animal skins as protection from the dead, which they believed had walked the earth on this dreaded night. Since then, it has been associated with the dead and the spirits. Below are popular rituals that manifest the historical roots of this traditional celebration in contemporary times.
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- Trick or Treat
- Wearing Costumes
- Mythical Creatures
Trick or Treat
One of the most awaited traditions by children, Halloween simply isn’t complete without “trick or treating”! As Halloween approaches, celebrators prepare or purchase candies for the different trick-or-treaters roaming around the neighborhood. On the night of Halloween, children don different costumes and go from house to house asking, “Trick or treat?” Ideally, those who don’t give treats (usually in the form of candy) receive a trick or a prank as punishment for being selfish.
Wearing Halloween Costumes
Halloween Costumes during the Halloween season are usually associated with its historical (and spooky) tradition. Some of the traditional costumes worn throughout the country has everything to do with the dead and mystical: demons, devils, ghosts, ghouls, grim reapers, monsters, mummies, skeletons, vampires, warlocks, werewolves, and witches are among the most popular. However, such costumes are now giving way to new costumes that are not necessarily scary, yet it’ll take a long time before the undead and supernatural theme will eventually die out (pun intended).
Every Halloween marks the comeback of its popular fruit, the pumpkin! Carving pumpkins into Jack-O’-Lanterns during Halloween is one of the most identified Halloween traditions of all time. Celebrants hollow and carve each pumpkin into a scary face, and candles are placed inside to emphasize its spooky expression. Afterward, it is given a mass burial.
The tradition of making Jack-O’-Lanterns began with the Irish folklore of the man called Jack. Legend has it that he was an old drunkard who tricked the Devil by making the demon promise that his soul would not be taken away. After he died, Jack was denied both heaven and hell so he hollowed a turnip, placed an ember inside, and used it as guide in the darkness. Thus, he began wandering the earth, and the traditional Jack-O’-Lantern was born.
Because Halloween began as a celebration to ward off the spirits and creatures of the other realm, mythical creatures such as ghosts, ghouls, vampires, and mummies have always had a traditional connection with the Halloween of today. Evil spirits are believed to be active, and symbolic animals such as bats and black cats take on a different meaning for celebrants on Halloween day.
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