Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Story of Halloween

Author: Gianni Truvianni

Halloween, a day of fright, folklore, goblins and above all fun for all those who are of a mind to simply enjoy themselves by letting loose their imagination however many may ask what is the history behind this holiday that has come to be celebrated through out the world? First off all we might ask what are the origins of the name Halloween and what if any meaning does it have? Regarding the origins of the word Halloween, the answer is a simple one. It all started many centuries ago when there was a Catholic holiday called “All Martyr’s Day”; celebrated on May 13 however it came to be that the date of this holiday was changed to the 1st of November while the name transformed to All Saint’s Day”. This change prompted that October 31, the day before came to be known as “All Hollow’s Evening”. As one can now observe “Halloween” is the short form of these two words, put in to one. This explains the name Halloween however what about the rest? Where did it came about that people took to putting on customs in an attempt to frighten others? Well the explanation to this lies in Ireland; as it was there and according to the calendar of the Celts that the 1st of November was the first day of the year which made the 31st of October the last day. Tradition had it that on this last day of the year which the Celts referred to as Samhain; the line that separated the living from the dead all but disappeared; making it possible for the souls of the dead to intermingle with the living. However the souls of the dead contacted the living with evil intensions. These being to posses their bodies so they might come back to the world of the living, thus escaping from the spiritual world. It was secure in their believe that ancient Celtics felt the need to put on costumes of fright which they felt would surely ward off those evil spirits which were bound to attempt to posses their bodies. In a way one could see that this to the Celtics which eventually became a tradition was not really so much a matter of having fun but a form of saving their souls and bodies; therefore it was with this in mind that they also went about their neighborhoods making as much noise as possible. Now in the 21st century, we of course can think of this is as being silly but to the Celts it was anything but as it sometimes happened that after Samhain; a person was even killed by those near him or her who believed the person they were killing was no longer the person they had known but a body inhabited by an evil spirit. Naturally with the passing of the years, faith in the concept that one could have one’s body taken waned and Halloween became a more ceremonial event as well as a joyous one for both children and adults. Now a days for instance in the United States, Halloween is the second biggest money making holiday. Second only to Christmas as it is during the weeks that lead up to this day that many a person; both very young and not so young go out and purchase a costume in order to attend either a Halloween party or go “trick or treating”. Costumes however are not the only items available to those wishing to spend money on the celebration of Halloween as they may also acquire decorations, games and even foods connected with this day of ghosts and witches. Yes, Halloween even serves for the purpose of selling food products such as cakes and other edible objects which are made with decorations pertaining to this very special day of the year. All of which making Halloween a day which has more to it then just putting on strange clothes. During the last few years however the fad has lead people away from costumes of freight such as ghosts or vampires and in to more diversified fields such as some of the younger ladies dressing up as princesses while some of the boys do so as action heroes such as Batman. Of course there are those who obtain their ideas for dressing up from history books and become Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington or other such characters whose image has lasted through out the years. I for my part ;if I could find the costume which would make me the character I wish to be? This I can say with all sincerity that I would become Darth Vader or at least for the day that is Halloween. This being the case since I am a huge Star Wars fan. Halloween in this day and age is celebrated all through out the world and contrary to what many may think it did not start in the United States but in Ireland and it was also there that the idea of bobbing for apples came about as the Romans brought it when they invaded many years later. Another Halloween tradition in the United States is “trick or treating” however this concept is not connected so much with Samhain but with a certain group of people; who during the middle ages performed an act which came to be called “souling”. Souling being where a person would knock on somebody’s door asking for “soul cakes” in exchange for which he or she would say a prayer for the souls of the dead relatives of the one who should be generous enough to give out “soul cakes”. Today however this practice has changed in many ways as it has turned in to children going from door to door saying “trick or treat”; where the person answering the door is confronted with the choice of either giving a treat which might be a sweet or something of the sort or having some dastardly trick played on his home. These tricks however for the most part are harmless and limited to having something written on his or her door with chalk (which can be easily washed away) or some trash being left and rarely if ever go beyond what could be hailed as a prank. In conclusion we could say that Halloween is a day that can be celebrated by just about anybody given its not being either a religious holiday nor one connected to patriotism; all of which makes it the ideal international holiday it has become. As for myself personally it has been in the time which I have lived in Poland that I have made every effort to bring the tradition of Halloween not only to my daughter, Paullina but to her friends who last year much to my near shock and that of several of the neighbors went out “trick or treating”. All of which made me see that my efforts to bring the wonder of Halloween to Poland have not been in vain.

My name is Gianni Truvianni, I am an author who writes with the simple aim of sharing his ideas, thoughts and so much more of what I am with those who are interested in perhaps reading something new. As for the details regarding my life I would say that there is nothing that lifts them above the ordinary. I was born in New York City in 1967 on May 21st and am presently living in Warsaw, Poland where I wrote my first book “New York’s Opera Society” now Available on Amazon.

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