Halloween is all about dressing up in fun costumes, decorating, having parties and some trick or treating for the little ones right?
Yes and no.
This is indeed how we celebrate the modern day Halloween.
But actually, that's not what Halloween is about.
Halloween is actually the Pagan Sabbat of Samhain, a festival to celebrate the life of fallen ancestors. It is the day when Pagans believe the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and the hope was that their ancestors would appear to them to share their wisdom.
November 1st is also traditionally the Pagan new year, so October 31st would have been new year's eve.
As Catholicism became more popular through the country, the Catholic church decided Samhain was another Pagan Sabbat that needed to be replaced with something of their own (along the lines of Christmas and Easter) the reasoning being it would be easier to convert Pagans if rather than remove their sacred days, they just amended them.
So, All Saints Day came to pass, to be celebrated on November 1st. From what I understand of this, it is a day to honour all the saints who aren't special enough to have their own days.
The mass which was said was the All Hallow Mass, so in effect, October 31st became known as All Hallows Eve, which in turn was shortened to Halloween.
It is said that the Catholics, worried they had offended the dead, would dress up in grotesque costumes on Samhain in the hope it would scare away the dead. I have no idea if this part is true or not, but it would certainly explain the tradition of dressing up as something scary!
Over the years, the traditional celebration has morphed into the one we know today.
I love Halloween, and I like knowing that it has kept its Pagan roots more truly than the other holidays we celebrate today. Although most of the traditional Christian holidays still have elements of the original meaning, Halloween seems to be the one that remains closest to its origins.
Come back tomorrow (and every day this month) for more traditional Halloween posts!
What do you think? Do you think Halloween has stayed true to its roots or is too commercialised? Let me know in the comments :)