By, Rikiryou Rei
Halloween, for many people Halloween, is nothing more than a holiday where we can dress up and get free candy. However, there is a lot more meaning behind this day than most people would think.
Around 2,000 years ago, the Celts (people who lived in present-day northern France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom), celebrated the New Year on November 1. This New Year was called Samhain (sow-en). The beginning of the New Year signified the end of summer, the harvest season, and the long, harsh winter that usually took the lives from many people and animals. Many weak animals were eaten during this holiday because they would most likely not be strong enough to make it through the winter. Because of this, the holiday signified death to the Celts. They believed that the day before New Year, a wall opened between the land of the living and the land of the dead and allowed both good and evil spirits into the living world to wreak havoc while possessing humans. Because of this belief, some say that the Celtics left out food and drinks to ward away the bad spirits and aid the good ones that were trying to pass into the afterlife.
Others say that that the Celts wore bizarre costumes and roamed the streets in order to scare the spirits away. Another suggestion is that they celebrated and honored the dead during this holiday. That’s the beginning of Halloween. Around the first century, the Roman Empire had overtaken most of the Celtic lands. Over time, the holidays the Romans celebrated and Samhain combined into one holiday. Over the next hundred years, when Christianity was spreading over Roma/Celtic lands, the
Christians tried to change the holiday to make it more Christian –like. However, many people still celebrated Samhain. In order to take attention away from the holiday Pope Boniface IV declared that November 1, the day after Samhain, All Saints Day. This day was also known as All Hallows. Since Samhain was celebrated a day before this, it became known as All Hallows Eve.
That is the holiday we know today, yet some superstitions have been added, like that witches and black cats were bad luck. Other than that it’s still the same old Halloween we all know and love!