Where Did Halloween Orignate From?
Your costume is itchy and your date is drunk and flirting with the freak-of-nature sitting in the corner, so you have to ask yourself, “Where did Halloween originate from?” Halloween is celebrated much differently now than when it originated by the Celts in Europe. Samhain, roughly meaning, “summer’s end” was a festival celebrated by the Celts to ready themselves for winter and welcome in their new year, which occurred on November 1st.
During the 16th century, life evolved around survival. The spring centered on planting fruits and vegetables and breeding animals. Conversely, fall was the time of bringing in the harvest and the culling of animals for meat. These slaughtered animals were eaten as part of the celebration. Due to weather conditions, warfare also came to an end at Samhain, so peace and friendship were celebrated at this time.
In Brittany, they thought that the veil between the living and death became thinner during Samhain, which we now know as Halloween. They believed that the living could be tricked into passing to the other side and that the dead could cross over into the realm of the living. It was thought that deceased relatives would want to be entertained, so they would visit them on Samhain. In Wales, they invited the deceased relatives in by leaving food outside the door and lighting the hearth before they retired to bed. Trick-or-treating is a modern-day carryover of trying to appease the dead with gifts of food left on doorsteps.
In Scotland, Halloween had evolved to more closely resemble the celebration that we know. Mischievous youth would dress in frightening costumes blurring the line between the living and the dead. They would wreak havoc on farmers’ fields and play pranks on those they considered stingy. Modern-day jack-o-lanterns carved from pumpkin did not originate with Halloween. Instead, turnips were used to carve and put in windows to ward off the spirits.
So, the party’s over and you look around and realize your date has left with the freak-of-nature and you are too drunk to drive. You step into the darkened street and the brisk damp air kicks you out of your stupor. You senses are heightened and you are now acutely aware of your surroundings. Be sure and look over your shoulder on your long walk home.