Halloween is a holiday celebrated worldwide, yearly on the 31st of October. People of all ages love it. Kids are eager to go trick-or-treating for candy, teenagers love Halloween parties… And adults start decorating their homes accordingly even by the end of August.
While the English, the American and people who are specialists in history may know much about this holiday’s actual spring, other cultures in the world view it quite wrongly.
As Halloween is right around the corner, I have brought you a short summary of its history, plus a massive debunking of worldwide sophistries on this topic. Is Halloween really a satanist holiday, as most of my Romanian relatives apparently are keen on saying?
From an etymological perspective
The word “Halloween” has gone through quite a few transformations. From the “All Hallows‘ Even” (“even”=eve, thus, it was the day before All Hallows’ Day) in Old English, to the 1556 “All Hallows’ Eve”, to the 1745 “Halloween”… This holiday has kept its initial meaning throughout time: All Saints’ Eve. A day fixed for commemorating and celebrating the dead.
Most sources say that it has been derived from a Christian holiday. Still, you may even hear that Halloween originates from Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic holiday that celebrates the end of summer and the harvest season, and also the Gaelic New Year’s Eve. It was thought to have pagan roots, but to later have been Christianised by the Church with the name of Halloween.
This holiday would include a few practices such as lighting bonfires, dressing up in costumes to scare or confuse the souls of the dead (which according to the legend, would come back to Earth in the night between the 31st of October and the 1st of November), putting up huge plates of food so the dead souls would feed themselves.
So, either way, Halloween is not pagan nor satanist.
La Día de Los Muertos
If I had to link Halloween to another holiday, that would be “La Día de Los Muertos“. It is a Mexican holiday for remembering and praying for the dead. If you have any knowledge of the Mexican culture (or if you watched Coco), you may actually know that La Día de Los Muertos is celebrated on the 2nd of November. Pretty close, huh?
People dress up in traditional Mexican costumes, or as one of their beloved dead people, paint their faces, cook huge batches of traditional food, have various rituals… I would say it basically is Halloween but the Mexican way.
Slavic patriotic grandmas get so mad at youngsters for celebrating Halloween. Elders have pretty bad opinions about the idea Halloween is created around. What they don’t know, though, is that there are a bunch of other holidays around the globe that are quite close to this one in cause (besides La Día de Los Muertos which is identical if you ask me).
The traditions of the holiday of Halloween as we know it today vary from customs of the Samhain to even more recent ones. These include: creating costumes, dressing up, making festive food and decorations, bobbing apples (a Roman game), trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns… To even watching Halloween movies to “get in the mood”, or playing pranks on each other with spiders, ghost simulations, eating excessive amounts of candy etcetera.
You name it!
Myths created around the world
Around the world, people who aren’t well-documented or well-educated have created lost of myths and gossip around the concept of Halloween.
I have heard people say it’s a satanist, pagan holiday… That it celebrates the pain and suffering that one feels when dying. You may even hear people say that witches from around the globe gather on Halloween and sacrifice goats or little children. Others say witches adopt black cats around the time of Halloween to torture them.
Do all of these sound… at least a little silly to you too? Or is it just me?
As a matter of fact, Satanists say that they accept and embrace the holiday as it is. However, they don’t feel enough connection to it. And, to be honest, witches are the kindest with animals, especially cats.
I feel like Halloween is a topic definitely worth having debates and talks on. No matter if you celebrate Halloween for the sake of remembering the dead, for the candy, for the spookiness, for the partying, or you’re just a history enthusiastic as I am.