Tuesday, 30 October 2012

So what is all this Halloween business?

Right now it is October 30 in Australia, which means tomorrow is Halloween. But really, there's nothing special about that. We don't really celebrate it here.

American movies and TV shows have always seemed so strange to me. Seeing swarms of kids wandering from overly-decorated house to overly-decorated house asking for candy. Threatening pranks.

I've been trick or treating once. When I was about 15. Most houses we went to turned us away or threatened to ring the police.

Others would go rummaging through their cupboards, eventually pulling out some expired piece of forgotten candy to hand out.

Some people didn't even know what halloween was.

It's just not a big thing here. So today, I decided to do some research, for any Australian readers who are left wondering every year, what the hell is all this about?!?

So here is what I found out;

1. Some years ago (400BC-ish) there were a group of people in Britain/Ireland/France know an Celts. November 1st was the beginning of the New Year making October 31st (Halloween) their New Years Eve. On NOvember 1st the Celts would celebrate the close of the summer harvest and prepare for the cold months ahead.
The night before this day the Celts believed the barriers between the lands of the living and dead opened.

2. At this point in time October 31st was not a celebratory event. It was believed this night gave way to all kinds of supernatural occurrences. It was the best night to predict the future and it was the night when fairies and other supernatural beings were able to enter the world. In order to evade these harmful spirits Celts dressed up in costumes, held large bonfires, offered sacrifices and held feasts for the dead. They went door to door to seek food for these offerings.

3. Then Christianity came to the Celtic lands and the 'celebrations' began to coincide with the Christian celebration of All Saints Day or Hallows day. The holiday began to be about celebrating saints and praying for the dead not yet in heaven. The Christians also believed the souls of the dead would wander on this evening. Christians would go door to door to collect 'soul cakes' for the souls in purgatory and sometimes wore costumes to evade the evil spirits. In addition to this, jack-o-lanterns were made to represent the souls in purgatory.

So basically an ancient Christian/Celtic belief that ghosts and ghouls were going to get them and as such they had to dress up in costumes and offer sacrifices and food stuffs to the souls of dead people.
And we don't celebrate this because??

What do you love about Halloween? What traditions do you practice?

Until next time :) xxx

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