Halloween wishes: The practice of lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits during Halloween
Halloween 2023: Halloween Day is dedicated to remembering the dead. The festival that is celebrated widely in America and parts of Europe has its origins in ancient Celtic traditions. Over the decades, the festival has gained prominence not just as an important holiday in the West but has also made a special place for itself in pop culture across the world. People put their best foot forward by putting on spooky make-up and clothes for these parties.
Even closer home in India, the Halloween traditions of dressing up in costumes and visiting friends with gifts, screening horror movies, and Halloween-themed games have become popular in several cities.
History of Halloween Day
In addition to its close relation to All Saints Day, Halloween is also believed to have its origins in a 2000-year-old Celtic festival. The Celtic communities celebrated their New Year on 1 November, with Halloween being celebrated on 31 October as New Year's Eve. In Ireland, Halloween was called Samhain which literally translates to the end of summer. Not just in Ireland, but also in other parts of Europe -- especially in the northern latitudes -- Halloween marked the end of summer.
The practice of lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits during Halloween in the Celtic tradition was related to the onset of a damp and dark winter, which usually brought with it a host of diseases.
The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the potato famine of the 1840s.
They brought along several of their holiday customs with them including bobbing for apples and playing tricks on neighbours like removing dates from the front of houses.
But where does the concept of spooky dresses come from? Well to avoid being recognised by evil spirits on All Hallows Eve, the Celtics would wear spooky masks when they left their home at night, so the ghosts would not mistake them for fellow spirits.
Trick and treating however originated in the second half of the 1930s. Americans took from Irish and English traditions and went door to door, asking for food or money, while dressed in costumes.
The term ''trick or treat'' is thought to have come from the idea that families could prevent tricks from being played on them by treating kids with candies.
Another famous part of Halloween is the ''jack-o-lanterns'', which people in modern times use on pumpkins. But, do you know pumpkins came long after the original jack-o-lanterns, which Celtics carved on turnips or potatoes? They did that to light the way to their home, for good spirits to enter.
Later, when the Irish immigrants entered America, they discovered the pumpkins to be the new face of Halloween.
Significance of Halloween Day
Over the years, Halloween has gone on to become one of the most important festivals in the United States of America and several European countries. Over the centuries, the ancient rituals were replaced by contemporary versions of the same, such as the "trick or treat" custom carried out by children.