Halloween 2019: Origins, significance and tradition of the festival of All Hallow’s Eve

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October 30, 2019 6:54 PM

Halloween Origins: Halloween has its origins in Celtic history. It stemmed from the ancient Samhain festival wherein the Celts would ward-off ghosts by making bonfires.

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Halloween is a ghoul-themed festival celebrated on the 31st of October annually. The festival is also known as All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve. It is the day before the Christian feast of All Saints and brings with it the Allhallowtide season lasting up to three days and concluding with Soul’s day. The festival is marked by lighting pumpkin lanterns and fancy costume get-ups in its modern-day interpretation.

Halloween Origins: Halloween has its origins in Celtic history. It stemmed from the ancient Samhain festival wherein the Celts would ward-off ghosts by making bonfires. Celts belonged to the region that makes up present-day Ireland, Northern France and the United Kingdom. The tradition evolved and got intertwined with the Roman festival of Feralia paying respect to the dead and to Pomona the next day, the goddess of fruit and trees. It continued till the 8th century after which Christianity began to influence the Celts and that supplanted Samhain into All-hallows the night before All Saint’s day. It then got called All-hallows Eve before being finally termed as Halloween. Only by the 19th century did Halloween become an annual American festival celebrated during Autumn time.

Halloween Significance: Its significance lies in the fact it symbolises a shift from summer and brings forth the winter season. The coldness thus has an association with death and the winds become the representative of the supernatural. According to experts, Halloween has a number of different traditions associated with it that make the festival as popular as it is.

Halloween Traditions: Some of the famous traditions include “trick or treat” which serves as a community event for children to dress up as ghosts and other grotesque creatures mostly associated with the Horror genre such as witches, werewolves and the like. They then go to their neighbours with baskets in order to collect candies or sweets from them. Other than this there are a number of Halloween parties that take place in which adults and children are encouraged to dress up in horror-themed costumes. Pumpkin lanterns are carved and set up in front of western households with other ornaments that are deemed to be traditionally spooky such as witch hats and Dracula fangs, etc. Spawning from an occult practice in Celtic and Romans is another tradition of bobbing apples at Halloween played among children and adults alike.

Halloween Filmography: Many Hollywood films have taken inspiration from the festival. This includes cult classics like the 1978 film, Halloween and blockbuster franchises such as Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Beetlejuice and Hocus Pocus. Hollywood celebrities mark the occasion with over the top costumes, Model Ashley Graham recently broke the internet with her Jack Rabbit get up.

Halloween Alternate Celebrations: Halloween itself is celebrated remarkably different in few parts of the world. In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, it is celebrated as Dia des Los Muertes which translates to The Day of the Dead. People believe that on the night of Halloween the spirits of the dead return home. An altar to the dead is created along with foods, flowers, candles and photographs to honour them.

In India, the festival is becoming increasingly popular with youngsters and Bollywood celebrities joining in the fun. Many hotels in Delhi are celebrating the same with gusto and setting up parties for the same.

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