Halloween has arrived and that means that witches, goblins, and other grotesque decorations and paraphernalia have been seen for the past weeks in our neighbors’ house. This holiday originates from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). Even though this holiday has gone through several changes, its roots and meaning are still the same. We invite you to read our post and see for yourself all the changes that Halloween has gone through.
The Samhain festival is celebrated at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic cultures. The festivity was celebrated on the full moon nearest to Nov. 1. In addition to celebrating the end of the harvest, the ancient Celts of Britain and Ireland believed that during Samhain, the veil between the human and the supernatural worlds was parted and that spirits, both good and evil, roamed the earth.
When the spirits came to back to earth, the ancient Gaels believed that deceased would come back to life and cause havoc or that they would return to their all homes, and they would spend time with their family. During these days, families would put out food and drinks for their ghostly visitors in hopes of appeasing them or remembering them. Today Halloween is celebrated in many different ways, its activities have changed and adjusted in order to fit modern society. Some of the modern traditions include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", and carving jack-o-lanterns.
Trick-or-Treating – this practice is associated with an ancient Middle Age tradition known as Souling. In its original practice, poor folks would go door to door on All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Oct. 31 – Nov. 01) to commemorate the dead through prayers in return for food.
Dress Up / Costume – Halloween costumes originally were modeled after supernatural figures. Figures like devils, ghosts, monsters, skeletons, vampires, and witches. Traditionally costumes were used to appease and mimic the evil spirits that roam earth during the Samhain festival.
Jack-o-Lanterns – This custom originated from Ireland, where turnips or beets were used as lanterns to guide the dead.
Halloween Time Line
Below is a few events that have caught our interest and have changed the Samhain festival into Halloween.
Fifth Century B.C.E.
Ancient Celts observe the Samhain festival at the end of October.
First Century C.E.
The Roman Empire conquer the British Island (Celts) and adopt many of the spiritual rituals of the Samhain.
Eleventh Century C.E.
Second of November is designated as All Souls’ Day to commemorate the dead.
Eighteenth Century C.E.
Halloween appears for the first time in prints, the name replaces it original form Hallowe’en (Hallow Evening).
Nineteenth Century C.E.
Immigration from Ireland to the United States brings the Halloween customs.
Twentieth Century C.E.
Halloween becomes a popular nationwide holiday in the United States.
Twenty-First Century C.E.
Halloween becomes one of the most popular international holidays and a worldwide multibillion-dollar industry.
Other interesting facts include:
Originally Jack O’ Lanterns were made from turnips.
Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
"Souling” from the medieval Christian times, represents modern-day trick-or-treating.
Halloween is usually represented by 2 colors: orange and black. Orange is a strength and endurance; while black is typically a symbol of death and darkness. These colors also act as a reminder of the harvest, autumn, and of the boundaries between life and death.
During the celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. The term bonfire is a combination of “bone” and “fire”
Sani Dental Group staff hopes you enjoyed reading and learning the history of Halloween. If you decide to go trick-or-treating, please watch your young and enjoy this evening/night. If you decide to dress up, we invite you to take some pictures and share them with us. We know that like many other celebrations yet remember that some out there only want to do some mischief deeds, try not to fall victim.