It’s almost Halloween again, and I started the wonder about how Halloween started. What was the original purpose of this holiday we use to dress up in costumes and gorge ourselves on sugary treats?
It originally started as a Celtic harvest festival. People would go around in costumes and sing at people’s doors in exchange for food. It was believed to be a time when spirits were able to interact more with the world. People in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man left offerings of food and wine in order to appease the spirits. The spirits were then expected to ensure that their crops lasted through the winter.
Later, as Christianity spread, they stopped this practice and actively avoided the spirits. Irish Catholics created jack-o-lanterns to ward off evil spirits. October 31 was called All Hallows’ Eve: the day before All Saints’ Day. All Hallows’ Eve was used to remember those who resided in purgatory. Mourners paraded through the streets in black to remember the souls of those who died.
As time went on, this holiday was adapted to a more modern point of view. The singing for food transformed into children begging for candy, and jack-o-lanterns became a festive decoration.