The True Meaning of Halloween

The history of Halloween began 2000 years ago, when the Celtic tribes lived in what is now England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Northern France. On the evening of October 31 and all day on November 1, they honored the god of the dead, in whose will the souls of people after their death were.

They also believed that on October 31 this god collects the souls of all those who died in the past year. To repay their sins, he settles the souls in the shell of animals, which depends on the sins themselves. In addition, the Celts worshiped the sun god. In order for the Sun to be their good ally and contribute to a rich harvest for the next year, and also to help strengthen the power of the Sun for its coming struggle against the cold winter and dark forces, the Celts lit huge fires on the hills and arranged generous sacrifices to the Sun god on November 1st. This day was the beginning of the New Year according to the Celtic calendar. Around the same time, on November 1, festivities were held in ancient Rome in honor of the fertility goddess Pomona. She was depicted as a beautiful girl with fruits in her hands, in a crown of apples on her head. The Romans arranged various games and horse races at this time, danced, generously treated themselves to apples and nuts. When the Romans conquered the Celtic tribes in what is now France, they brought their customs with them. Thus the Pomona festival and the Celtic traditions intermingled, and the result was a great autumn festival, which continued to be celebrated on November 1st. In the Middle Ages, “All Saints’ Day” was appointed on November 1 – on this day all the saints who did not have their special days during the year were honored. It was no coincidence that the Church chose November 1 for this holiday – in this way she hoped to do away with pagan rituals and traditions that came from antiquity. This holiday was called “All Saints’ Day” or “All Hallows’ Day”. But no matter how much the churchmen would like the ancient traditions to sink into oblivion, they remained. People in many countries continue to celebrate All Saints’ Eve. It became known as “All Hallows Even” and gradually shortened to “Halloween”.

Halloween in MDK, Rybnik 2022

While November 1 became a day for religious thought and church services, the evening before continued to be a time reserved for magic and superstition. It was believed that on the eve of All Saints Day, all the forces of evil – witches, sorcerers, goblins, demons and other evil spirits, led by the devil himself – gather together in order to arrange all sorts of outrages and somehow harm on the eve of the holiday. In each country, there was a certain place for gathering evil spirits – the Ardennes Forest in France, Mount Brocken in Germany, Blocksberg – in Sweden. And in England, every ruined abbey, the ruins of an old church or monument could serve as a gathering place for them. Thus, Halloween combines many traditions: the religious rites of All Saints Day and pagan customs that have survived from the time of the ancient Celts and Romans. From the first came the veneration of the dead and their spirits; from the Pomona holiday there were apples, nuts and other symbols of a rich harvest; and from the Celts – goblins, magic, divination and prediction of the future, black cats and evil spirits. Now this is not a religious holiday, but a time to have fun and laugh at superstitions. Today in Canada, and in many other countries, the evening of October 31 for millions of children means this: “Trick or Treat?” Children and teenagers, dressed in costumes and raincoats, masks and wigs of witches, ghosts, vampires and other very or not very scary characters, go from house to house in the neighborhood and receive various sweets and candies from the owners, putting them in their bags. At the same time, they ask the owner who opened the door: “Trick or Treat?” – the meaning of this is something like “Life or wallet?” – that is, if the owner does not give them something (treat), they will play a cruel joke with him (trick). Often in the yards, on the porch or on the window sills in many houses you can see pumpkins with carved eyes and a mouth, inside of which a candle burns (although, however, they also come with a light bulb) These pumpkins can be a little scarier or a little funny, depending on the desire of the owner . They can be both plastic and real – pumpkin. Even special knives for carving “pumpkin” are sold, if you want to enjoy the carving process itself – so good! These pumpkins also have their own history. Long ago, there lived a rather nasty man named Jack. And then one day he met the devil himself and realized that he had come for his soul, since he himself understood that the devil had a place for his soul. They walked together along the road and saw an apple tree with ripe apples. Jack pretended to want to try the apples and persuaded the devil to climb a tree after them, and he himself gave him a lift, because the apples hung quite high. And when he was sitting on a tree, Jack treacherously pulled out his knife from his pocket and carved a cross on the trunk of an apple tree, which, as you know, the devil is afraid of more than anything in the world.

Happy Halloween, Yulia

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