Halloween has its roots in an olden Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic calendar marked the start of winter and the beginning of the new year on November 1st. This festival had the name Samhain (Sah-ween) and it had been the most important celebration of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that during Samhain, the ghosts of the deceased joined the world of the living as they journeyed to the otherworld. Rituals on this special day included animal sacrifices and setting up bonfires which protected the living from the dead. It was believed that all sorts of supernatural beings were out and about such as ghosts, fairies and demons, thus people would wear masks to resemble these creatures and avoid being attacked.

The Name Halloween

The Celtic holiday Samhain came to be Halloween when Christianity reached the land of the Celts. Christian missionaries called the Celtic priests, the Druids, devil worshipers and their religious practices pagan. Pope Gregory the First was the one who decided to let the Christian converts keep their customs by consecrating them to Christ. Following the Pope’s edict, the Christian feast of All Saints Day had been assigned to November 1st. All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows (hallowed means sanctified or holy), was a continuation of the Celtic rituals. People celebrated All Hallows Eve as a holiday of the wandering dead, but the supernatural creatures were seen as evil. The people continued to appease those “evil” spirits (and their masked impersonators) by offering them gifts of food and drink. Later on, All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which then became Hallowe'en.

Halloween Today

Halloween today is one of the most popular holidays worldwide. Following in the footsteps of Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Halloween has been one of the most commercialized holidays. People from all over the world take part in Halloween carnivals and masquerades, they decorate their houses with carved pumpkins and vegetables, bats and all things creepy. On this day children disguised as witches, fairies, ghosts or their favorite pop-culture characters go “trick or treating” from door to door. They are offered all sorts of treats like candy, caramels or fruit. However, if they do not receive any treats they may end up doing a trick or two to the unwelcoming host.

Анастасија Камчева
Професор по Англиски јазик
Едукативен центар Сонце

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