Wednesday, 26 October 2011

History of Halloween - The Uprising

I live in a Muslim country in which i am a minority and often whenever there is any event coming up, my friends (non-christian) always come up asking me, Hey isn't this one of your christian feasts!!!!!

I experienced a likewise situation this month as Halloween was coming towards the end of the month and one of my friends came up to me and said: " Yaar Glenn yeh Halloween christian tehwaar hein na" (Hey Glenn this Halloween is a christian feast right). I at the first go said that no it cannot be a christian feast as it involves trick'o' treating, jack-o'-lanterns, people wearing ghost and witches costumes etc. For the moment my friends got busy with something and went away but his curiousness to know what the history of Halloween was left me with the same question as i did not know actually what it was myself.

Therefore i sat down and researched about this day on my PC and would like to share this research of mine with all you guys. 

History of Halloween

The origin of this day dates back to Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the ending of summer and the beginning of the dark cold winter which according to them was a time associated with human death.

The Celts believed that on the 31st of October the boundary which existed between the world of the dead and living blurred giving way thus to the ghosts of the dead, who destroyed crops and caused trouble. During this time the Celtic Druids(priests) sought to make predictions about the future. The people believed them as they were dependent on these predictions which were like a source of comfort during the long winter.  

To celebrate this event the priests built big sacred bonfires, where the people came together to burn crops and scarified animals to their Celtic deities(Gods). During this celebration the people wore costumes consisting of animal heads and skin. This was a sort of introduction to the history of Halloween, we now move on to the next era. 

Roman Empire

Sometime later the roman empire had conquered the Celtic lands and hence with their festival of Samhain they combined two of their festivals, the first being Feralia which was the celebration for the passing of the dead and the second was the feast of the goddess Pomona (Roman goddess of fruit and trees)

Christian Intervention  

By the 9th century Christianity had spread and rooted itself into the Celtic lands, where it gradually supplanted the older Celtic rites.

In 1000 A.D the church made 2nd November as all Saints day and 1st November as all Souls day, according to a few people the all souls day replaced the feast of Samhain. The all saints day celebration was also known as All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it where initially the Celtics used to commemorate Samhain, began to be called All-Hallows which eventually became known as Halloween.

So i hope you all are clear with the history of Halloween and where it originated and that it is not a christian feast. But my questions to all my readers and friends is that what are your views on Halloween? Do you think its a pagan or satanic cult being celebrated, or is it something just we do just out of fun and enjoyment. Leave your views and answers in the comment box below.