Halloween celebrations today are far different from the original Celtic festival; however, each of the traditions practiced stem from the initial religion.
The Celtics had a festival each year to worship their gods and bring in the New Year, which would start on Nov. 1 according to today’s calendar.
They would have bonfires to worship their sun god and once the clock struck midnight, they would worship Samhain, the god of winter and death. During these festivities, the Celts would dress in animal heads and furs to ward off spirits, and trickery ensued throughout the night.
On Oct. 31, the Celtics believed the human world and spirit world blurred together. The living and the dead could mingle before the dead moved on to the “other world.”
While the bonfire was lit, they would exstinguish any other fires within their home to not attract any wandering spirits. They would re-light their home fires with an ember from the bonfire to ward off any evil for the upcoming year.
Once Christians started moving into the area, they found this “Pagan” religion to be quite disturbing and became determined to abolish the practices.
All Saints Day was created and to be held Nov. 1 in attempt to draw attention away from the Celtic New Year. This day gives Christians a full day to honor all the saints, especially those who do not already have a day in their name.
Christians believed the Druids, or priests of the Celtic religion, were evil worshippers, and the people that followed the religion to be witches.
Another day was put in place for Nov. 2. All Souls Day was implemented to remember and pray for the souls that were dead.
However, the Celtic festival remained with many partaking in the trickery and antics of the night when the dead could mingle with the living.
Trick-or-treating stems from multiple stories. Food and drink was often left out to either please or ward off the evil spirits. On All Souls Day, beggars would go around begging for food in exchange for praying for dead loved ones. Some even thought fairies would dress up as beggars and ask for food. A punishment was given to those who did not offer.
Costumes started back during the initial Celtic festival when they dressed in animal skins. From there, people started dressing up to ward off the evil spirits wandering about.
Today, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in America behind Christmas.
What Halloween myths/legends do you believe in?
“In California, a lot of the kids used to believe that on Halloween, anybody who died in your house would come back and mess with you and play tricks on you. My aunt told me this and it scared me. It was a really big thing in California. Every kid just knew that that was what happened on Halloween. It was a mix of Day of the Dead and Halloween.” Haley Sewella Freshman, social work
“All Hallows Eve is the day that the veil between the living and the dead thins. And they’re able to coexist with us in the same plane. I kind of believe in it, but I haven’t researched it that much. I believe in modern day witches. They’re naturalists, like modern day Pagans. They create remedies to cure ailments.” William Ohrt Freshman, pre-pharmacy
“Boo-ing is when you take a little paper lunch bag with a little ghost face on it and there’s a little universal note you put on there and it’s filled with candy. It’s essentially an anonymous gift from friends to friends. Kind of like a candy-gram on Valentine’s Day. When you get booed, you’re supposed to boo somebody else. A lot of people will tape the ghost face on their window like an advertisement.” Rachel Pavona Freshman, pre-pharmacy
“I definitely am a little superstitious. I so believe that communication with the dead is much more possible on Halloween. I would never try it, though; messing around with the spirit world can create some bad juju that I don’t need in my life.” Georgina Leigh D’Hondt Sophomore, criminal justice