While bustling about caramelizing apples, dressing children in things we wouldn’t let them wear any other time of year, and begging for candy; do we ever stop to ask the origin of the festive holiday known as Halloween? The annual holiday, observed on October 31st is celebrated primarily in the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK.
The origin of Halloween is thought to have begun as the Celtic festival of, which celebrates the end of summer and the beginnings of harvest. The end of the “lighter half” of the year is followed, after the festival by the “darker half” of the year. Some historians believe the origin of Halloween goes back further, to the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead known as Parentalia.
The origin of the word Halloween was first used during the 16th century as it represents the Scottish variant of All-hallows-Even (evening), the night before All Hallows Day. All Soul’s Day is celebrated by the Christian church on November 1st as a hallowed remembrance of those that have passed and to cast out the evil that may have arisen from acknowledging the pagan ritual of celebration of the new into the dead.
Pagan celebrants recognize Halloween as the season of holiness; offerings to the gods and goddesses of the earth is considered customary during this revered event. Pagans often celebrate this day as Samhain, going back to their religious roots; hundreds of years before Christianity. Some fundamentalist Christians see the celebration of Halloween as blaspheme and recognition of paganism; which they fought desperately to rid Europe of in the first centuries after Christ.
Most Christians see the holiday for what it has become; nothing more than a celebration of fun, the bizarre, the scary, and yes; commercialism. Halloween is the second most fiscally enterprising holiday, next only to Christmas; a Christian holiday that also shares pagan roots. For most of us, Halloween is a time to see cute kids in strange attire, watch horror films, eat until we puke and be something we’re not; if only for one day.