Spanning the line between plenty and rarity, life and death and fall and winter- Halloween is truly an occasion of fun and celebrations. This holiday is usually celebrated on the night of October 31st. In actual, the word ‘Halloween’ is derived from ‘All Hallows Evening’ and popularly known as ’All Hallows Eve’ or Halloween. You won’t believe this, but Halloween stands next to Christmas in celebrations and expenses. It has been evaluated that people spend around $2.5 billion on this festive night and that’s an incredibly big amount spent on candy, costumes, decorations and party goods.
Halloween and Traditions:
Like Christmas and other holy occasions, Halloween is purely steeped in ghoulish customs and traditions. Basically, all the famous traditions have been carried from Scotland and Ireland to several regions in North America in the nineteenth century, while other western countries hugged this trend in the late twentieth century. Some of the countries, who embraced this holiday later, include United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. One of the most traditional activities that usually takes place on Halloween, includes Trick or Treating in which kids, wearing different scary costumes proceed from door to door, asking for treats and candies. They usually ask people “trick or treat?” and here, ‘trick’ means to perform some kind of trick on the homeowner or his property, if the treat is not given. If you are living in a neighborhood with lots of kids, then you must purchase candies and treats in advance for this wonderful tradition.
Other Main Traditions of Halloween:
- Best Costume Context
- Costume Parties
- Carving ‘jack-o-lanterns’
- Visiting ‘haunted houses’
The Origins of Halloween:
In reality, Halloween is a way different now than it may have been celebrated thousand years ago. As we know, October 31st is just around the corner, it would be fun to find out what the origins of Halloween were.
Peter Tokofsky- an Assistant Professor in the department of Mythology and Folklore in UCLA State was the first one to find the origins of this holiday. He stated that Halloween is originated from the Celtic festival- Samhain, which was the Celtic New Year. They considered this holiday ‘the day of the dead’ or ‘the Feast of the Dead’ and they believed that the spirits of the deceased would return back.
Samhain- the Lord of Darkness
The word’ SAMHAIN’ means ‘the end of summer’, by Celtic societies. Summer’s end actually refers to the beginning of the cold winter nights and was an important date for the Celts, who survived on plants and grown in the fields. They believed that 31st of October is the end of the harvest and beginning of the dark winter nights- the time associated with human death.
Druid Religion of Celtic Tribes:
Druids were the Celtic pagans who used to worship Samhain-the lord of Darkness. They believed that the souls who had passed away the preceding year were to come back on the night of Samhain. The Druids enjoyed this holiday with great celebrations and organized huge fire festival to motivate the dimming sun not to disappear. They used to dance, play games and do lots of fun to keep wicked souls away, but they keep their doors open for the kind and helpful spirits that might join in their celebrations. Moreover, Celts and Druids during these celebrations, used to wear costumes, usually consisting of animal skin and heads. This tells us that Halloween Costume parties and Context have been derived from the Celtic practices.
Halloween Celebrations in United States:
Halloween- is truly a time of year when days get shorter, air gets crisper and for millions of U.S. youngsters the excitement and fun grows in hope of the scariest, darkest and spookiest holiday of the entire year. Usually, Americans celebrate this grand occasion on 31st of October in the most festive manner.
What Do People Do on Halloween in U.S?
In U.S, this holiday is usually celebrated with friends, family, relatives and even colleagues. Parties and other events may be organized by several large communities in America on the weekends, before or after the actual date. The most traditional activities for adults include: watching horror movies, creating graveyards or haunted houses, throwing costume parties and much more.
As far as kids are concerned, they usually dress up in fancy and creepy costumes- like witch costume, dreary zombie costumes, monster costume and so on. They visit each house in their neighborhood and demand snacks, sweets or small gifts from the adults.
On Halloween, various families carve horrific lanterns out of various vegetables- like pumpkin and decorate their homes and gardens according to the theme. These scary lanterns were intended to keep evil spirits away from their homes.
Donations in UNICEF:
One more amazing cause that is associated with Halloween in U.S. is collecting the donations for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund- UNICEF. Children usually trick or treat on Halloween night, some of them collect money instead of gathering candies and snacks. They might carry a small box with UNICEF logo and then the donation is submitted to the organization to help needy children around the globe. I believe this is the most purposeful part of the entire celebration!
There are tons of symbols and objectives that are usually tied with Halloween. Some of the most traditional symbols include:
- Walking skeletons
All these things symbolize the connection between the physical and spiritual world and also between the life and the death. Animals that are popularly utilized on this holiday include:
- Black Cats
All these animals often associate with Halloween, because they symbolize darkness and night and they are used for accompanying wizards and witches. There is a wide range of objects that makes Halloween more celebratory and exciting. Some of the objects are:
All these objects are intended to protect houses from evil souls and are often connected with death. Nowadays, such scary costumes and creepy-cool props are available in various markets and online stores to add a new wave of excitement and fun.
Most Popular Halloween Superstitions:
Many people are unaware of the superstitions that are practiced on this holiday. Usually, apple, nuts and candles are marked prominently in most superstitions that are tied with Halloween. Now, let’s explore some interesting superstitions regarding this festive night:
It is believed that if a girl or a boy holds a candle and looks into mirror, while eating an apple or combing hair, their future life partners will appear peeping over their shoulders. Wow! How exciting superstition is this! Do try it this season and discover your partner soon!
Some people believed that the Devil was used to gather nuts on Halloween and he was popularly known as ‘nut-gatherer’. Also, there is one more superstition regarding hazel nuts in which girls place nuts in front of the fire grate. Each nut will symbolize one of her suitors. Now, she can find out who her future partner will be by rhyming few words: “if you love me, then pop and fly and if you hate me, then burn and die”.
There are so many superstitions, associated with apple. Let’s figure out some most interesting ones step by step:
- It is a famous superstition regarding apples that if you cut an apple through the equator, so that the five-pointed star is revealed and then you eat it with candle in hand, while looking into the mirror. You may be able to see your future spouse, peeking over your shoulder.
- It is believed that if you place a small apple under your pillow, then you might see your future husband in your dream.
- The third and the most appealing superstition, associated with apples is that you peel an apple, such that the peeling comes off in a single long strand and then throw it over your shoulder. The shape it will form will tell you the initial of your spouse.
Discover some Fascinating Facts about Halloween:
Here are 10 most captivating facts about Halloween that you will love to know. So, let’s start off with the names of Halloween that you haven’t heard before.
- Halloween is known by various names, including:
- Feast of the Dead
- All Hallowtide
- The Day of the Dead
- All Hallows Eve
- Did you know, what’s the correct spelling of the word ‘Halloween’? The word is properly spelt as Hallowe’en.
- Have you ever heard about the’ All Saints Day’? If No, then we’ll let you know about this festive day which is celebrated on November 1. When Christianity spreads in England and Europe, 1st of November became the All Saints Day- which was purely dedicated to those saints who didn’t have any special day of their own. The night before the day was popularly known as ‘All Hallows Eens’ and eventually it became ‘Halloween’.
- Did you know that pumpkin is a squash? Yes, my friends, it comes from the family of cucumber and 99% of pumpkins that are sold have been utilized for Jack-o-Lanterns tradition.
- Did you know what the first Jack-o-lantern was made from? The first Jack-o-Lantern was actually fabricated from turnips.
- Which is the second uppermost grossing marketable holiday, after Christmas? If you are thinking of Halloween, then you are absolutely correct. It comes right after Christmas in celebrations and spending.
- It is a popular tradition to wear inside clothes out on the Halloween night and walk backwards. It is believed whoever perform this tradition will surely see a witch at midnight.
- It is believed that if you see a spider on Halloween night, it could be the soul of the person who loved you and watching you.
- Have you ever rung the bells on the night? Do it! As ringing bells will frighten the evil spirits and keep them away from your house.
- In many countries, including Australia and France the event appears to be an unwanted occasion and is seen as overly commercial U.S. influence.
A Hard Fact:
It has been predicted that children are more likely to be killed or hit by a car on Halloween night than any other night of the year.
Halloween Safety Tips:
Everyone loves to look most dreary and wear creepiest costumes on the occasion, but not when it comes to the safety of your kids. There are several helpful and effective safety measures that will help your child stay protected and safe on Halloween.
- If you are buying any costume from stores or making the one yourself, make sure it is the right size for your kids; in order to avoid falls and trips.
- It’s better to provide your kids glow sticks or flashlights, especially when they go out for ‘trick or treat’. This will help them see and be seen by drivers on the road.
- Use reflective tapes and stickers, when you are decorating your kids’ costumes and bags.
- Try choosing light colors for their costumes and masks, because dark colored masks and accessories can really obstruct your child’s vision.
- If you are using any kind of cosmetics or paints on your face or your kid’s face, then try buying non-toxic makeup and paints to avoid irritation.
- The popular and usual hours for trick or treating tradition are from 5:30pm to 9:30pm around the globe. So alert your child during those hours and keep an eye on their activities.
Every one of us wants to have a secure and prosperous Halloween, especially for our guests and children. In order to make the most of this festive occasion, try picking these safety tips and share them with your kids. This will make your entire Halloween season as enjoyable and meaningful for your kids as it is for you!
Choose a fantastic theme for your party, buy creep-cool costumes for your kids and family, decorate your home in the unique way and stay safe and happy on the upcoming Halloween holiday!