The history of halloween.
The jury is out on the history of Halloween or Hallowe’en, a contraction of All Hallows evening. One theory is that it was a pagan celebration of the Celtic Harvest Festival that was later Christianised. Others believe that it was a solely Christian tradition that had nothing to do with pagan origins.
Either way, Halloween is alive and well and has been spreading to other countries. Not because people are becoming increasingly religious, but because it’s an exciting way to spend an evening, children have a blast and who doesn’t like a bit of harmless fun?
What is it?
Well, that depends on where you are. If you are in the USA, Canada or Ireland then this is an extremely popular celebration and many people go to extreme lengths and spend large amounts of money on costumes, decorations, and parties. Here are a few amazing celebrity costumes to give you inspiration.
In other countries, the tradition is starting to become popular. A large percentage of people from the USA dress up in scary, sexy or even clever costumes. The Spanish, in general, stick to the scary options and it’s mainly for kids although it’s is increasingly becoming more popular with adults. They have their own ‘Halloweenesque’ special day called ‘the day of the dead’ where families visit cemeteries where loved ones are buried. It’s very noncommercial and an excuse for families to come together.
The Austrians light candles before going to bed on the night of Halloween to welcome any spirits and in Germany people hide any large knives.
Many people believe Ireland was the birthplace of Halloween and people dress up, do trick or treating and have parties with friends and family in the evening. They organise special games, have special cakes called Barnbrack (a type of fruitcake) and children play tricks on neighbours.
Like Spain, many south and central American countries celebrate the ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ – the day of the dead. People come together, clean and visit grave sites and organise family gatherings. Some construct an altar to commemorate their departed loved ones and others burn incense.
Do you celebrate Halloween in your country? What do you do? Let us know!
And if English is not your first language you can visit my post for some extra Halloween related vocabulary.