As you look around during the month of October, you may find yourself surrounded by witches, fairies, spiders, and skeletons. Every year, people put much creativity and thought into celebrating Halloween on October 31 and they start the decorating early in the month. It seems to have become the sign of autumn’s arrival. During this time we can expect children to go from door to door to trick or treat, adults attend costume parties, pumpkins carved into vomiting jack-o-lanterns, and haunted houses being visited.
“Halloween is a yearly celebration that is observed in a number of countries on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It initiates the triduum (religious observance lasting three days) of Hallowmas (10/31 to 11/2 triduum including All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls’ day), the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and the faithful departed believers.” – Via Wikipedia. The triduum of Hallowmas was (and still may be) seen as a luminal time when the spirits and souls of the dead could come into our world easiest.
In some countries Halloween is recognized as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve. In other parts of the world, Halloween is also known as Ghost Festival, Devil’s Night, and Mischief Night. The symbolism of Halloween’s activities is quite unknown to most.
A few interesting facts include:
- The Jack-o-Lanterns were originally meant to frighten evil spirits. An Irish folktale portrayed the jack-o-lantern as a soul that had been denied entry into both heaven and hell.
- The imagery of the skull serves as a reminder of death and the transitory quality of human life.
- In Portugal when the children go trick-or-treating for All Souls Day, they sing to ‘remind the owners of the house why they are begging for candy’. Some of the lyrics of the song include “It is for me and for you, and to give to the deceased who are dead and buried” and “It is to share with your deceased”.
- Divination is seen as a portion of celebration for Halloween also. Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occult ritual.
- Wearing costumes has been associated with different country’s festivals at other times of the year besides just at Halloween however costume stores’ sales drastically increase during the month of October because of the planning that occurs for Halloween in particular. Throughout history and generally the costumes associated with Halloween are based on supernatural beings like ghosts or zombies.
Although Halloween can be a time to portray yourself as something else for a time, it is always good to know the history of the traditions you are taking part in. This Halloween, and this autumn in general, let’s cautiously enjoy the time we have, whether celebrating or not. Also, let me see your decorations and costumes! Send them to me on twitter!
Thanks to Getty Images and my desire to see pretty for the imagery in this post.
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