Halloween is right around the corner but do we actually know what we are celebrating? For some, it is a simple act of remembering the saints and the souls in our lives while a few use this event to gather more stories to tell.
But what is Halloween, really? Here are 5 spooky facts about it:
It was supposed to be a Christian practice
Halloween was first celebrated by the Catholics after it was changed from being a Celtic tradition. It was when the Catholics wanted to convert more people that they decided to extend “Hallowsman” from October 31 to November 2. Hallowsman is a holiday where people honor the good works of the Catholic saints and the memories of the dead souls by praying to (saints) and for (dead) them. The pope officially decreed the event to start from the eve of October 31 in the 11th century.
The Philippines, being a huge Catholic country, is not exempted from this practice. We even go to the cemeteries days before the 31st to avoid the hustle. Since we are a little extra, we book our week-long work leave to travel to our hometowns where our families usually bond over the memories of our fallen relatives.
The symbols of Halloween are creepier than they already are
When October starts, we begin seeing eerie pumpkin smiles, images of black cats, spider, and its web, and more. These are not mere random images that symbolize Halloween; each one is linked to the dark history of witches.
Many Christians do not participate in Halloween because they believe that Halloween is not to be celebrated. It would be ironic for Christians to join a Wiccan affair, don’t you think so? While Halloween was a semi-originally a Christian-organized occasion, it has changed a lot since then. It has now become a mix of both worlds.
Wiccans celebrate Halloween to mark a New Year
Wiccans are modern-day witches. They practice pagan witchcraft as a form of their religious ritual but contrary to what many of us know about them, they do not fly on brooms.
Samhain is a festival that marked the end of a Celtic year, similar to our New Year’s Eve. This is celebrated in Ireland where they believe that inviting spirits to their homes would be more effective if they offered something in return.
Today, we put candies and chocolates in front of our homes to invite kids. Does that mean that we are inviting spirits too?
Why do we wear costumes?
As part of the Celtic tradition, the first people who celebrated Halloween wore masks and costumes to scare off or confuse the ghosts by making them believe that they are ghosts, too.
Were they trying to befriend them by pretending to be of one them?
Jack-o’-lanterns were not made of pumpkins
The original ones were made from turnips and even potatoes. There is a myth about Jack who tricked the Devil so that he could live a Devil-free life but when he died, God did not let him enter His gates. So Jack came back to the earth as a ghost and lived only with a burning coal in his hand.
He used the coal and put it in a turnip as a lantern. Later on, people carved scary faces on crops in remembrance of this old folklore and also in hopes to scare off other roaming spirits. Thus the nickname ‘Jack-o’-lanterns from Jack of the Lanterns.