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The Birth of Halloween

 


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We barely have 3 weeks to go before Halloween. With the supernatural attraction it brings, it is no wonder that this holiday has created controversies and hype over centuries.

Ironically, the modernity of our time has never erased the ancient concepts of ghosts, scary creatures and other creatures of the night during Halloween. In fact, these beliefs have become a fountain of fascination that makes the celebration of the thriller season more entertaining and noteworthy. Costume parties, Hollywood films and even music and arts are tainted by ideas related to Halloween.

The Celtic tribe in the area that is now called Ireland celebrated New Year on November 1. It was considered as a commencement of the life-giving summer and the end of the cold and lonely season of winter. Moreover, the Celts believed that the night before the New Year is a fateful time when the boundary between the realm of the living and that which belongs to scary creatures and creatures of the night become hazy.

On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, which was deemed to be the time when creatures of the night and spirits of the dead from the other world come to Earth to cause distraction and mayhem. On the other hand, this time was also regarded important because the presence of these otherworldly spirits make it possible for the Druids or Celtic priests to call on spirits and ask for guidance and predictions. These predictions were of great importance to the Celts since their tradition was mostly based on paranormal beliefs. During this day, the Celts offer crops, animals and sacrifices to their gods to protect them from malevolent, scary creatures hovering during the Samhain. Aside from this, they also wear costumes of animal skins and heads.

Along with the Roman invasion of the Celts was the rule of Christianity. Eventually, their beliefs and practices during October 31 and November were “Christianized" as Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 as a time to honor the martyrs and the saints, hence called, All Saints’ Day. It was also called All Hallows Day, so October 31 was later dubbed Hallows Eve and consequently, Halloween.

These pagan beliefs about Halloween were never silenced even with the prevailing skepticism towards the supernatural. In most countries, this season is celebrated with costumes of scary creatures that seem to replicate the Celts’ ancient Samhain practices. On the other hand, some people spend this holiday visiting the tombs of their deceased relatives to pray for their loved ones’ spirits. Others celebrate this day by enhancing their creative landscaping skills through creating backyard decorations among others.

From all these examples, we can see that pagan constructs have harmoniously amalgamated with the 21st century lifestyle without totally losing the original concept of Halloween. The ideas of savage sacrifices and scary creatures are still associated with this tradition. It just goes to show that Hallow's Eve, Samhain, or Halloween is still strongly felt as a much celebrated tradition to this day.

A Computer Engineering student and loves to travel. Reading current news in the internet is one of his past times. Taking pictures of the things around him fully satisfies him. He loves to play badminton and his favorite pets are cats.

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