Friday, October 31, 2008
The History Of Halloween And The Reason For The Costumes
The word itself - Halloween - comes from the phrase “All Hallows Eve.” That particular “eve” - or evening - is the night before All Saints’ Day, a celebration of the saints of the Catholic Church.
However, the celebration of Halloween is actually based on a pagan holiday called Samhain, a Celtic celebration of the end of harvest. And All Saint’s Day had originally been celebrated in May, but was changed to November 1st by the Catholic Church back in the ninth century.
As a result, the stories behind this celebration have changed over the years and many tales have sprung up to explain this particular night.
One story has it that the spirits of the dead will come back to earth, searching for their bodies. This is the story that the Celts came up with to explain what they saw as a magical time of year. During that night, the spirits of the dead were allowed access to our world.
Of course, if you were walking around with your living body, you wouldn’t want one of these confused spirits to possess you. So what could you do? If you were the people back then, you would dress up in all kinds of horrible costumes to scare away those spirits.
In addition, the villagers would march up and down the street making as much noise as they could and even cause a great deal of destruction...all for the sake of scaring away the spirits. Imagine the damage that was caused to their own property just to scare away the ghosts!
Eventually, Irish immigrants brought their strange and wonderful tradition with them when they came to North America. The destruction, however, by then was nothing more than the occasional outhouse being tipped over or taking the hinges off of front gates. It had definitely become a night of pranks. (After all, “frightening away spirits” takes some creative imagination.)
But how did “trick-or-treating” come about?
Sending our children out begging for treats didn’t come from this Irish tradition. It is more similar to the English tradition of ‘souling’. When a child ‘souled’ in England, they traditionally were begging for money to give to the poor and then asking for a treat for themselves. In exchange for that treat they would offer up their prayers to all the souls that had died. Of course, somehow through time, “souling” - like Halloween itself - has become a Snickers bar and scary costumes.
Obviously the tradition of Halloween as we know it today is a mixture of many different traditions from around the world. What is consistent in the history of all of them - even though your kids might not know it - is the concept of the souls of the dead and their return to earth. So this year, when you dress your child up in their Batman costume and send them on their way to beg for candy that you would rather they didn’t eat, know that you are participating in a rich and colorful tradition that goes back thousands of years.
Author Resource Box:
Faten Hodroge is the owner of Canadian Halloween Costumes and a secret lover of costume. In fourth year of operation, and responding to demand from Canadian customers, Faten Hodroge established warehouse operation in the Canada in 2007. Article Source: Free Article Directory - http://www.articleManiac.com Search And Submit Articles