Halloween was once known as Samhain, a Celtic festival tradition which they deemed as a time when ghostly spirits and the dead roamed freely on earth. (Denisse Hobson / Lariat)
October is finally here and thus beginning the spark of creatively crafting the most complex costumes of the year for Halloween. It’s the one night of the year where dressing up as your favorite fictional or non-fictional character is acceptable.
However, if you ask the majority of people the history about this magically horror themed night and where it came from, one may receive blank stares.
Time traveling back to about 2,000 years ago, according to an article published by A&E Television Network History, Halloween got its roots from the Celtic festival tradition of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, whom geographically resided in Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, believed that on the night of Oct. 31 it marked the end of summer and harvesting.
They considered this night as a transcending moment where the beginning of winter, cold and dark, unfolded into Nov. 1, which was regarded as their new years. This night was associated with human death, which they deemed as a time when ghostly spirits and the dead roamed freely amongst.
Between the time frame of the night before the new year, this night was a fence line, theoretically like Netflix original series Stranger Things’ upside down world becoming reality. In addition, it was also a highly favorable night for Celtic priests to make prophecies about the future.
Paying tribute to the night, the priest known as Druids would sacrifice animals and burn the year’s harvest. Whilst doing so, it was a normality to dress up in animal heads and skins.
Fast-forward to a time when the Roman Empire had already vanquished the Celtic region, they adopted the celebration of honoring their gods a day in which they called Feralia. Later into the 19th century the Roman Catholic Church would make Nov. 2 a mirror of honoring the dead like the Celtics and call it All Souls’ Day or also known as All-hallows Eve, where Catholics would dress up in costumes such as devils, saints, and angels, in honor to the saints.
The name Halloween consequently was simplified as a result of shortening the name All-hallows Eve.
Once Irish immigrants came into the United States back into the late 19th century, the Halloween tradition was widespread amongst many cultures that overall influenced American individuals.
Women playing tricks that involved spelling out their future husbands name with objects such as mirrors or yarn, among other tricks, caused the American community to counter superstitions with treats such as candy.
The birth of the term trick-or-treat was therefore born, which in today’s time has Americans amassing $1.9 billion worth of candy annually according to Reference Publishing Labs Company.
For those celebrating the Halloween holiday this year, it’s expected that spending of costumes will reach $3.1 billion claimed by The National Retail Federation.
Some of the most popular costumes expected this year include the Pokémon Go Trainer, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Harley Quinn, the female Ghostbuster ensemble, and Snapchat filters.
Although Samhain may take on a slightly different form in Halloween with American culture, it has no doubt influenced society. Halloween follows closely to Christmas as the second highest celebrated holiday in the United States.