Every year, on 31th of October millions of people celebrate one pagan custom, which impose trick and treaty, many pumpkins and a lot much more sweets for the children. A long time ago, before being converted into a global phenomenon, Halloween was simply an Irish custom, practiced by small population of catholic people. One interesting fact is that the only place in the world where Halloween is celebrated and praised as a national holiday is Ireland, where the children are excused not to go to school on this day.
But that is not the end of it, even much more earlier, around 2,000 years ago the Celtic ‘s festival Samhain is strongly related to the present day Halloween. According to The World Book Encyclopedia. “The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time. During Samhain, the living could visit with the dead.” More importantly, it was the most significant holiday in the Celthics’ year, the time when the dead were finishing their journey from the otherworld. People believed that their ghosts would travel and haunt the world on this day, probably lost and melancholic, forsaken and abandoned by the world they had left behind.
The celtic people had only two seasons : winter and summer, therefore “Samhain” means ‘summer’s end” celebrating the harvesting season and the beginning of their new year as well. To top it all, they believed that there was something superficially magic even sacral during that day, as it represented the summer’s abundance and the winter’s hollowness, as if two distinctly different powers collided into one another.
That day was related to the All Hallows Eve, which was the day before the All Saints Day (presumable on 1st November), the Catholic Church decided the latter to be the day on which all pagans were converted into Christianity.
The festive became even more popular during the time. The first celebration of the festive by the Irish people involved in itself, pot clanging used for telling the death that they were not forgotten as well as bon firing to scare them away, preventing them from getting to close to the living. Sometimes people placed food and water for the ghost in hope of quenching their thirst and feeding them in order to appease them.
However, that celebration is not only for the dead ones, but for the living,too. As a matter of fact, the scotish romantic poet Robert Burns wrote a poem about it, it is titled “Hallowe’n”, which was prevailingly popular among the young people in the 19th century.
“Some merry, friendly, countra-folks
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks,
An’ haud their Halloween
Fu’ blythe that night. “
This is only part of the poem,which is richly filled with strange rituals performed at that time, some magic, some charms and spells. For instance, one ritual involved nut burning, it was used as a weapon of saying whether two people would be faithful to one another. Two nuts were placed in the fare if they burned together, the two lovers shall be together forever, if one of the nut cracked or jumped out of the fire, their happing would be doomed. Another one was called a “looking-glass spell” in which one person were supposed to eat apple in front of a mirror, after that if she/he looked carefully they would see how the reflection of their true lover was peaking over their shoulder secretly. Final example of future telling is the picking straw, in which an young woman had to pull three oat straws from a stalk of oats and if the third straw had grains on its top, that woman shall lose her virginity before marriage.
Halloween couldn’t be recognizable without one particular object : the flicking pumpkins or jack-o-lantern. The origin of which is doubtful one, one people claim to belief that it is related to the irish fable of Stingy Jack. In a nutshell is about how Jack tricked the Satan and then he died. He was not able to enter the Heaven as he sinned, neither the Hell,so he started wandering around. He was able to beg a coal from Satan in order to light his way and he put the coal inside of a carved-out turnip and thus the jack o’ lantern. The lost soul. Another source claims that during the 18th century the kids used turnips first instead of a pumpkins, they were called Hoberdy’s Lanterns and they were noticed in in Worcestershire, England