The Truth Behind Halloween

Spook | Carolina Malagamba

How far back can we trace Halloween? It goes back much further than the suburban picture of kids dressed up begging for candy. Our first understanding of Halloween was celebrated by the Celts, living over 2,000 years ago, known then as a festival called Samhain.

The Celts began their calendar year on the first of November, so that would make the 31st of October their New Year’s Eve. On this night, rituals would be held to appease gods and powerful spirits. The Celts would gather around large fires and throw in animals and goods as offerings to these gods. In addition to giving...treats… to the gods, the Celts would also dress up in costumes to ward off or...trick…any evil spirits, see what I did there?

It was believed on this night that the spirits of those who have passed could return to earth that night as well.

As time passed and Catholicism began to influence Celtic history, November 1st became All Souls Day, and the westernization of the calendar carried over as well. Halloween was now the day before the celebration of those who had passed on, a sacred day for the church.

Source of historical facts here.

Today, there is some controversy in Christianity around celebrating Halloween. Some denominations completely reject Halloween, even though it was created by the Pope at the time. Growing up, my school didn’t allow us to dress up or celebrate Halloween, but my church did. This religious selection throughout history isn’t shocking.

I think this is a great example of how different groups do tend to pick and choose what in history to respect and to neglect. No story is one-sided and often, that fact can be exploited. Even if a holiday doesn’t necessarily align with what you believe, it still serves as an opportunity to educate yourself on other cultures and traditions.