Halloween 2021 has arrived, which means it’s time to break out the spooky costumes and pumpkins. Widely observed in North America and parts of Europe, the celebration has its roots in ancient Celtic customs. Over the years, the festival has grown in importance, not only as a major holiday in the West, but also as a vital part of pop culture around the world. Halloween customs such as dressing up in costumes and visiting friends with gifts, showing scary movies and playing Halloween games have become popular in several Indian cities.
Halloween is commemorated every year on October 31. The celebration of Halloween 2021 falls on Sunday this year. All Saints’ Day and Halloween are inextricably linked. All Saints’ Day was instituted in the ninth century by Pope Gregory III. The night before All Saints’ Day was known as ‘All Hallows Eve’, which later became known as Halloween.
Halloween is thought to have its origins in a 2000-year-old Celtic holiday, in addition to its close ties to All Saints’ Day. The Celtic New Year was celebrated on November 1, while Halloween was celebrated as New Year’s Eve on October 31. Halloween was originally known in Ireland as Samhain, meaning ‘end of summer’. Halloween heralded the end of summer not only in Ireland, but also in other regions of Europe, especially in the northern latitudes.
The Celtic tradition of lighting bonfires at Halloween to ward off evil spirits was linked to the arrival of a damp and dark winter, which usually brought with it a whole host of illnesses.
Meaning of Halloween
Over the years, Halloween has become one of the most important celebrations in the United States and other European countries. Over time, modern adaptations of traditional rituals, such as the “trick or treat” tradition practiced by young people, have supplanted them.
“Trick or treat” has its origins in ancient Irish and Scottish rituals, according to History.com. People from the different countries dressed up in costumes and went from door to door to sing songs for the deceased in exchange for cakes. This is now only done by young people, who are “paid” with candy. According to the research, Halloween accounts for a quarter of all candy sales in the United States each year.
Matching and apple bobbing are two lesser-known rituals practiced in Scotland and Ireland during the festival.