Although Halloween began as a tribute to the dead, it has transformed drastically over the years. It has completely changed since it originated, from a Pagan holiday adapted by Christians to a consumer oriented celebration. Through different alterations by many people over large spans of time, Halloween’s start is hardly recognizable today. Its pagan roots can be traced back to before 46 AD, when the Romans invaded the British Iles, where an already established tradition foreshadowed Halloween.
Halloween is believed to be modeled after the Celtic celebration of “Samhain”, which means “summer’s end”. It was traditionally celebrated in early November and lasted about a week. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season, the beginning of winter, and when the souls of the dead had their door opened to the mortal world. These souls were meant to return to their homes and join families for the “feast of the dead” that marked the beginning of the new Celtic year. During this celebration, communication with ancestors took place in which hope was directed towards obtaining immortality. In addition to ancestral spirits, evil spirits were also believed to be released during this time. Steps were taken to ward-off these spirits, including dressing up to scare spirits and to disguise oneself, which may have lead to the tradition of dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating. While some aspects of the tradition of Halloween might have developed through Pagan practices, including its location on the calendar, its name was pulled from Christian tradition.
Halloween has also been attributed to the Christian “All Saints Day.” In the 4th century, the Syrian church dedicated a day to “All Martyrs,” which in the 7th century became “All Saints Day” on the day that the “All Saints” temple was dedicated in Rome. Although All Saints Day originally took place on May 14th, one century later, it was changed to November 1st, which was the same date as Samhain, and in the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document