Halloween evening is upon us once again. You might celebrate Halloween by dressing up, taking your kids trick-or-treating, or going to a party and drinking some spirits. Whatever you are into on Halloween, here is some little background on why we celebrate it at all.
Although present day Halloween has become commercialized, and is all about cheap costumes and stale candy, its roots are quite a bit darker. The tradition of Halloween goes back around 2,000 years, dating back to what was called “Gaelic Samhain,” which was an Irish festival celebrating the end of summer and the harvest season. The end of October was a bittersweet time of year for farmers, as it meant that a hard winter was coming. During this celebration, Irish folklore suggests that “All Hallow’s Eve” was created. The date of October 31rst was picked as a pre-curser to “All Saint’s Day,” which occurs on November 1rst. It became the thought that on this day, the souls of the dead could come back to roam around and pay visit to their friends and families. October also comes before winter, where the ground may freeze, and souls may have a harder time making it out of the ground.
The tradition of trick or treating became commercialized in the U.S. after WWII. This is when Halloween became less about spirits, and became more about spooky costumes and candy. However which way you look at it, Halloween is the one day a year that we can make light of one of our biggest fears: death. We can stick fake tombstones in our front yards, hang bats and skulls and it’s the one time of year that it is acceptable to do this. This is also a time that we can celebrate loved ones who have passed on. It’s comforting to think that there is still a time of year where they might come visit us. Just as long as it’s a friendly visit!