"All Hallows' Eve"



The word Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve. The word "Hallowe'en" means "hallowed evening". Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Hallowe'en.                                                               


Two thousand years ago, Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France were occupied by the Celts. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st and the day before marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark cold winter, a time of the year associated with human death. On that night, the Celts believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and so the ghosts could return to earth, that’s why they celebrated Samhain.

During that celebration, some of the Celts wore costumes, consisting of animal heads and skins, in order to be mistaken by wandering spirits for one of their own so they could be left alone. Others offered treats to the spirits to please them.

These traditions evolved, so years later, in medieval Britain, supplicants started going door to door asking for food in return for a prayer for the dead. Some say they carried hollowed out turnip lanterns, whose candle trapped a soul in purgatory, others say that the lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits.

This festival and traditions originated what we now call Hallowe’en. Turnips have been replaced by pumpkins due to the fact that these are easier to find as well as to hollow out and carve. Nowadays, Halloween is a festival of fun mostly for kids, instead of seeing supplicants asking for food, we see children, going door to door asking for “Trick or treat?”, and if they aren’t given any treats, they perform pranks on the properties. But kids aren’t the only ones celebrating Hallowe’en.

Teenagers and adults celebrate Hallowe’en by attending parties, where they are expected to wear a costume, watching horror movies or going to haunted attractions designed to thrill and scare them.