Halloween is a time of sweets, costumes and fun. This second largest American festival actually has its roots in the Celt festival of samhain. The samhain festival was adopted by the church priests in ninth century to enable people to follow Christianity without leaving out on long followed traditions. Let us know about the history of Halloween masks in this article.
Masks during the Celt era: The festival of Samhain
In ancient Europe the Celtics celebrated a festival at the end of summer. The Celt New Year stared at November 1, and on this day the Celtics celebrated samhain. Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. During samhain the shield between the underworld and the human world is believed to get thin. Owing to which the creatures of the underworld come to the human world to spread diseases and famine. Samhain tradition of wearing masks and dancing around a bonfire was later changed and adopted as costuming. Celts used masks to dress up themselves as evil spirits and confuse the sprits into thinking this was the underworld.
Samhain to Halloween
The samhain festival of Celts in Ireland had evolved into the Halloween we celebrate today. In ninth century, Pope George VI had encouraged the priests to adopt the Celt festivals and Christianize them. Thus samhain became 'all saints day' which became 'all hallows day' that became 'halloween' Halloween masks.
Halloween masks have evolved so much with time. People used masks to dress up as a ghost or a goblin and they were part of the costume. Nowadays paint masks and full head masks have come and masking is taken to a different level.
Although masks have been a most liked and used part of a costume, Halloween masks have a history that did not have anything to do with fun or costuming.
Masks to the rescue
During samhain people wore masks to confuse the creatures of the dark.
There are a lot of beliefs to why they wore masks. Here are some of those:
In medieval times, people used masks to ward off evil spirits and keep their homes safe. Masks were worn to disguise themselves and trick the dark creatures into thinking that they were one of them too.
Halloween masks are used widely in America to mimic scary creatures, popular people and historical figures. The tradition is followed without the reason. The concept of pleasing the evil spirits have faded away and Halloween has become a fun festival. People dress up, make delicious treats, and go to parties.
Although the way in use of a mask has changed with time, this timeless tradition still lives on even in modern times.