Halloween: Then and Now
This paper will cover the origins, religious influence, the changes in Halloween, as well as the traditions and superstitions associated with Halloween. It will show how Halloween started as a dark festival full of traditions and superstitions, and how it has now turned into a happy celebration for the young and old alike.
Halloween is on October 31, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. According to The History Channel on Halloween (2012), Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago. Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition, it is thought to have its origin with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts (para 1). According to the Encyclopædia Britannica on Halloween (2012), over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities. It's one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. While millions of people celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts make the holiday more fascinating.
During the ancient festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland, November 1 was considered the end of the summer period, the date on which the livestock were brought in from pasture and land tenures were renewed (para 1). It was also a time when the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes. The Encyclopædia Britannica (2012) explains that bonfires were set on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits. Further, Britannica tells that the Celts sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. Britannica (2012) concludes that it was in these ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be...