Theorigin of Halloween dates back to the primordial Celtic festival ofSamhain. 2000 years ago, the Celts lived in that location which isnow Ireland. This particular day typified the completion of theharvest and summer phase, and the start of the cold, dark winterwhich is mostly associated with peoples’ death. The Celts believedthat the souls of the dead people wandered the villages and streetsat night and because not all the spirits were friendly, treats andgifts were offered to make peace with them and ensure that theharvest in the next year would be bountiful. This essay will discussthe origins of Halloween’s trick or treating, and the history ofjack-o-lanterns as well. Additionally, it presents the manner inwhich other religions celebrate the holiday differently.
Originsof Trick or Treating
Trickor treating begun in the middle-ages, when poor adults and childrenwould put on costumes and go from door to door, beg for money or foodin exchange for prayers and songs. This particular act was referredto as “souling,” and in the 19th century, `souling` brought riseto `guising` in the United Kingdom. `Guising` was a bit different asinstead of giving prayers the children would sing or makeperformances so as to get a treat (Bouman, Sven, and Ben Jacobsen1622).
Thepractice of making Jack-o-lanterns started in 19th century inIreland, and involved the hollowing of turnips to act as lanterns,and had scary faces as well. The ones who made them claimed that thelanterns represented the supernatural beings or spirits as well. Somepeople even placed them on the windows so as to keep the malevolentspirits away from their homes. Some researchers such as Bouman, Sven,and Ben Jacobsen assert that the jack-o-lanterns represented thesouls of Christians who were in purgatory (1630).
Dayof the Dead
Theday of the dead is a celebration and remembrance of the members ofthe family and friends who are dead, and emanated from pagans. InMexico, they use to the day to honor infants and children who died.Rather than being an atmosphere full of sorrow and mourning, it isthat of celebration. Considering the fact that it is a nationalholiday in Mexico, all the banks are closed as it occurs on November1st, they build cemeteries and create several alters with thedeceased’s favorite drinks and food, and photos too. Some of thepeople put on shells so that the noise made as they dance may wake upthe souls of the dead ones.
Thisis a Christian holiday which is celebrated in Spain, Portugal, andMexico, where offerings are made on this particular day. Differentreligions have different ways to show that they celebrate the day.Some of the people take flowers to the graves of people who are dead,whereas others light candles and visit the grave sites as well. Somepeople also prefer to visit the graves of the dead and pray.Furthermore, some Catholics just celebrate it with a day of rest asthey avoid physical strains.
Overall,Halloween is celebrated all over the world. The day provides a way inwhich people can play with the concept of death safely, with a twistof fun. Such moments in the lives of the people who celebrate themare thought to be supernatural and extraordinary, because of honoringthe dead. It is also worth to note that different religions celebratethe day of the dead, and the saints day differently.
Bouman,Sven, and Ben Jacobsen. "The Halloween indicator," Sell inMay and go away": Another puzzle." TheAmerican Economic Review 92.5(2002): 1618-1635.