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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Legend of Halloween

The Origin of Halloween
"Samhain" or "All Allows Day"

The origin of Halloween goes back very far- all the way back to the ancient Celts. The Celts lived in the British Isles during ancient times. The last day of the year on the old pagan calendar, October 31st, served the triple purpose of bidding goodbye to summer, welcoming winter, and remembering the dead. This day was called "Samhain". On the evening of October 31st and the day of November 1st, the Celtic priests, known as Druids, honored Samhain- the god of death. On October 31st, Druids also predicted the future.

According to Celtic legend, Samhain controlled the spirits of the dead and could allow them to rest peace fully, or make them go wild on this night. The Celtic believed that on the night of October 31st ghosts come out of their tombs. The spirit of the dead returned! Druids made big fires to frighten away the spirits of evil and death. The Celtic people dressed in scary costumes to frighten the evil spirits. They dressed as witches, ghosts and skeletons. They also played games to bring good luck in the new year.

After the Roman invasion in 43 AD, Samhain also became a harvest festival. Rome had a festival honoring the goddess Pomona who ruled fruits and garden. The Romans pictured her as a beautiful maiden, her arms filled with fruit, and a crown of apples on her head. Nuts, fruits and apples were part of the Samhain ceremonies. Apples were considered to be sacred and lucky. The colors of Halloween are orange and black. They represent the harvest (orange) and death (black).

Also after the Roman invasion, Christian rites substituted pagan rites. For the Christians, the first day of November was the day of All Saints. It was called All Allows Day (the day of All Saints). The evening of October 31st was All Allows Eve. This was shortened to Halloween. The druid religion went on for a long time in Ireland and Scotland. Halloween continued to be important in both places.

In the XIX (19th) century, Irish immigrants brought their Halloween costumes to the United States. Now Halloween is one of the biggest festivities in the USA. The date of Halloween, October 31st, is on every calendar.


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