We all must have heard this word in movies or anywhere else but most of us don’t really know what it actually is? Whenever we hear the word Halloween, fancy scary costumes and tasty candies come to our mind. Well, it’s not just the day when you go to a stranger’s home dressed up in weird costumes and ask for candies. It has a really rich and interesting history which I will share with you all through this blog.
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What is Halloween ?
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It is a celebration that is being observed in a number of countries on 31st of October. The word ‘Halloween’ is actually the contraction of the word ‘hallows’ and the word ‘evening’. Evening contracted to sound like ‘een’ so combined together it makes Halloween. Now, what does that mean ? Well, ‘Hallow’ means Saint. It’s a single person endowed with divine gifts. The ‘all hallows’ day which is actually November 1st , the day after Halloween is a celebration of these saints. So essentially Halloween is a Christian holiday observed by the catholic church, but it goes further back than that. According to many scholars, it was adopted by the Christians with roots dating back to Celtic harvest traditions as well as some pagan roots.
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It’s actually a day for the observance of departed. It is dedicated to remembering the dead, including hallows and the saints .
When we trace it further back, we find that it is actually a gala tradition which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Winter is considered the darkest part of the year. That is why Halloween has the dark undertones that it is the beginning of darkness.
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October 31st actually marks the midpoint between the autumn and the winter season. Somewhere around the 9th century, the roman catholic church started celebrating the ‘all saints day’ on November 1st. So over the time the two traditions kind of merged. That is when the modern idea of celebrating Halloween was born.
About Modern Halloween
So, the question is from when did people start wearing costumes and knocking on strangers doors and asking them for candies?
Practically speaking, if we go to someone’s house on any other day and ask them for candies, they will probably think that we are crazy. So this goes back to old Ireland, Scotland, and Wales where even in the 16th-century, people would go door to door and ask for food. It was the harvest season so people loved to share food and spread happiness.
Halloween and Candies
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So when did Halloween associated with candies?
You must have heard the term trick-or-treat. Apparently, people didn’t start using this word till the nineteen-twenties. The ancient traditions were to knock door to door and ask for food. Not too long ago it was really common for people to give kids apples when they came trick-or-treating.
Then somewhere in the 20th century, the mass media started reporting incidents of people putting razor blades in the apples. It turns out that those incidents were really rare but the media sensationalizes them so much that they pretty much went out of practice. These incidents proved to be really beneficial for the candy companies, as now people have to give packed candies.
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So now Halloween is not a mystery anymore and we all are ready to get our bags full of candies.
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