Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween - why do we celebrate it?

Halloween is approaching fast, so we thought we would look into the history and why we actually celebrate the spookiest of days...

You probably know that Halloween is the modern day name for All Hallows Evening. When we looked into the history of the celebration, the main theory is that it is a Christianised feast based around Celtic Harvest Festivals., with some pagan roots, in particular a festival called Samhain. Halloween falls on the eve of All Hallows Day or All Saints Day. All Hallows is about praying to the saints and celebrating the recently departed. All Saints appeared in the year 609, and by the end of the 12th century All Hallows had become a Holy Day of Obligation across much of Europe, with church beels ringing for the souls in purgatory. Interestingly, it was traditional to dress in black and parade the streets ringing a bell and ask good Chritians to remember the souls In turn people would bake and share soul cakes - early trick or treating?

Whatever the origin of Halloween is, it is very widely celebrated.

In the commercialised version of Halloween, we all get dressed up, go door to door to get sweets and treats. We have parties with all sorts of things like apple bobbing and pumpikins. Although it is more closely associated with Amercia, it has grown enormously here and is now an industry all on it's own. 

Although Pumpkins are the most associated items with Halloween, it wasn't always the case. In Ireland and Scotland they carved Turnips. Immigrants in North Amercia changed it to a pumpkin, becuase they were larger and softer. There is record of the carving of pumkins in America in 1837, although this was more to do with harvest time. It didn't become associated with Halloween until the mid 19th century.

We hope you have a great, safe Halloween.

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