So where does Halloween come from? Halloween traditionally came from religious practices from the Romans and the druids dating back centuries. The Romans worshipped various gods and October 31st was a time to worship Pomona the goddess of fruit trees, this was a religious festival that was always a tradition that took place amongst the Romans, however was later practised with a slightly different twist to it by the druids and the Celtic priest.
The Druids and the Celtic priest slightly changed the tradition by honouring the feast to samhain, lord of the dead, which was always traditionally celebrated on November 1st so the celebrations of both Pomona and Samhain always took place on October 31st and November 1st.
It has to be one of the strangest days ever celebrated, dressing up in weird costumes and trick or treating and lighting pumpkins, however the druids believed that on these two dates that the samhain gathered all the condemned spirits and souls that lived in different bodies of animals and by sacrificing their gods it would help to protect them from these spirits, souls, ghost s believed to be haunting them on these dates. They also believed that cats where holy and where people who they knew came back, which explains why ghosts, cats and witches have become a major influence when celebrating Halloween.
Jack- o -lanterns and trick or treat originates from Ireland as an Irish farmers hundreds of years ago use to go out begging asking for food, travelling from house to house, wishing good luck to all those who gave him food and wishing evil on all those who didn’t, using the term “You treat me, or else I will trick you” which highlights where this came from.
The term Jack –o-lantern came from an old story a myth from Ireland, where a chap called Jack was too evil to pass over into heaven and had also played evil deeds on the devil so was left to wander with his lantern in his hand across the land until it was judgement day. The Irish were so scared that they used to carve out pumpkins place lights in them and place them on the windows keeping out the spirit of Jack.
Modern times of this festival changed over 600 years ago as the Roman catholic churches changed from Pagan to Christianity allowing some of the pagan traditions to remain in their religion and instead of praying to heathens gods they would celebrate the death of their saints implementing November 1st to be the day of “All saints” and to the mass to be celebrated on “Alhallowmass” eventually re-naming it has “All Hallowed Evening” and then abbreviating it to “Halloween” although the Christian religion continued to celebrate this as an holy evening, many continued to celebrate it as it originally was.
Today Halloween is far from being celebrated has an holy day, it has become an innocent celebration across the world, although many still live in fear on this day, believing that ghosts, monsters and evil spirits are out to get them. Halloween as become a symbolic of fear generating historical roots from many old traditions from years ago, promoting people to be scared by dressing up and celebrating in many different ways.
© Janine Rogerson 2014