Not a lot about the history of Halloween has been written in ancient books and thus it becomes a subject where many people differ from one another�s thoughts. But the theory which was derived by the British Isles is of Pagan Celtic celebration of Samhain and this theory goes back as far as 5 B.C. According to this theory on this day the spirits and the dead woke up and started to hang out with the people who were alive and a celebration was done on this particular day. It is also believed that the Celts left the food for these good spirits and wore scary masks to avoid the bad ones. It is also said that the Romans who came in to England had a few other traditions of their won. They also started to honor the dead people by harvesting a lot of crops. This was known as the harvesting season. Celt is a region of Ireland and Scotland and when this was captured by the Romans the culture of having fun with the spirits was absent. The Celts celebrated this day by honoring the dead and by giving importance to the harvesting season.
November 1st was declared to be the all saints day after the Roman Catholic Church had decided to do way with Christmas and Halloween holidays. These in their terms were considered as Pagan holidays. These were the Pagan holidays under Saturnalia. This was a failed effort of Samhain to distract the Pagan holidays. The eve culture came into existence because of the Jews. The calendar which is followed by the Jews is such that when there is sunset a new day begins. The name of Halloween has come from the phrase "All Hallows' Evening," or from slang "All Hallow's Even" or the eve of All Hallows' Day. The meaning of the word "Hallow" in old English is a holy individual. This phrase can be shortened for the name of the festival i.e "Hallowe'en" and the latest is "Halloween."
The Celts and the Samhain
Ireland a place in Scotland is where the Celts lived, centuries ago. These people used to keep cattle and sheep in their homes in around 800 B.C. The Celtic people, around 800 B.C. used to keep sheep as their cattle. In the winters they would come down to their homes and stay indoors. They never did any outdoor activity because the winters would be very cold in Ireland. They fixed things up indoors, sewing, knitting became their winter profession. They never even stepped out because it was very cold and any one could freeze and die or the most common reason of death was being eaten by something which has stayed hungry for a long time. Thus it was a holiday season for Celtic people. Samhain was the name given to the last harvest before the holiday season. Later it was also given out as a celebration of ancient Celtic New Year. The meaning of the word Samhain is "end of summer" This in the western regions usually happens in the last week of October. This is the time when the weather starts to get cold in Ireland and Scotland.
The Celts believed that as the weather changes the magical properties start to begin and a lot of change is seen in the life of the people of Ireland. They also considered the spring climate as one of their turning points. They also had it in mind that this change of life is related to arrival of the dead. In the Samhain season, the Celts believed that the people alive and the spirits had the closest connection. They also thought that the people who had died in that particular year had traveled to the �other� world, and this was the time to return back home for a celebration.
This was the time when a lot of sacrifice was done. This sacrifice was done of various fruits, animals and vegetables. They believed that the dead were hungry and by giving them food they would be happy and at peace. To honor the dead many bonfires were lit as well. As the summer would end on 31st of October, all the harvest was done and kept in storage to live in the winter as they never stepped out. The Celtic priests and the Druids, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest. These meetings were done so that they could please the god for the harvests they had by sacrificing the crops and animals. And they would also pray for a milder winter!
The next morning after the sacrifice the priests of the Druid gave each family hot ember from the bon fire which was lit every night. This was the sign of a new year as they would use this ember in the fire places for cooking right after the 31st of October. The fireplace and fire were a big deal to the Celts, as they kept the homes warm and free from evil spirits. This routine which was their festival stayed with them for 3 long days. They would wear the skin and heads of the animals which they sacrificed which represented various gods of nature. These were their Halloween costumes. This is the history of Halloween in Ireland and today Halloween is a festival of more fun and frolic, of tricks and treats! Different effect of Halloween lights