BY: Irma Mora (Gainesville, Ga.)
Halloween, a time of ghostly ghouls, costumes, candy, haunted houses and midnight horror movie marathons staring our biggest fears has been around for centuries and will probably stay for years to come.
Halloween-themed celebrations seem to be all over the world in different variants. But before going on the Halloween World Tour, where does Halloween come from and why is it that we all dress up in spooky, funny and cute costumes?
The first celebration resembling Halloween was between 1000 B.C. and 100 B.C. in Ireland. This holiday was called Samhain, a time when ghost walked among the living.
After Christianity was founded, Christian missionaries tried to eradicate the pagan holiday. When they failed to do so, they tried to make it more Christian-like.
Around 800 A.D., Pope Gregory III rules that All Saints’ Day be honored with Samhain and tells villagers to dress up as saints and young men are encouraged to go beg for food for the poor around the village.
By the 1500’s, the night before All Hallows’ Day is called All Hallows Evening or Hallowe’en for short. Celebrations for this holiday include bonfires and children beg for money. In America, however, the Puritans ban the holiday along with Christmas and Easter due to their Catholic roots.
In the mid-1800, Irish Immigrants bring their traditions to America. By 1921, Anoka, Minnesota is the first American city to sanction a citywide celebration. New York and Los Angeles follow.
Today, Halloween is celebrated by millions around the world with costumes, candy and party supplies. So, how do other countries in the world celebrate Halloween?
In Austria, it is common to leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table because it was once believed that items like this would welcome dead souls back to earth.
Mexico has similar traditions in El Dia Del Muerto. El Dia De Los Muertos is commemorated on Nov. 2 but a three day celebrations start on the evening of October 31.
El Dia De Los Muertos is a happy and joyous celebration in remembrance of family and friends that have passed. Families construct an alter and decorate it with candy, sugar skulls, Pan del Muerto (Bread of the Dead), candles to lead the dead back home, water and soap for the dead washing up before eating the samples of the his or her favorite foods and drinks.
Mexico is not the only place where they hold a multiple day celebration.
In Sweden, they celebrate “Alla Helgons Dag” for six days beginning on October 31and ends on Nov. 6.
In Czechoslovakia, one chair for each living member and one chair for each departed member of the family is placed in front of the fireplace.
The spooky celebration continues around the world but the ghost and ghouls only come once a year. How would you celebrate Halloween?