So the way I see it, the best way to kick off 31 spooks is to explain the end. If that doesn’t make sense then you probably agree with Lewis Carroll that you should always start at the beginning, go on through the middle, and finish when you come to the end. That would also mean you agree with the world’s favorite drug-addicted arithmetician with a penchant for children.
Anyway, that means that for this fine Monday we can review Halloween itself. What is it? Where did it come from? How many W’s are in it?
The answer to the last one is “one.” The answer to the other two follows.
Most people point to the Celtic festival of Samhain as the source of our modern day Halloween. This festival celebrated the end of summer, which was apparently worth celebrating in those days rather than complaining like whiny teenagers upset that swimsuit season is ending. However, much like teenagers, the Celts loved to celebrate with huge get-togethers around raging bonfires.
So how did Samhain become “Halloween?” Well for that we look to the Romans who are pretty much the reason to any question that fits the mold of: “Why did that old tribal ________ change?”
In this case it was the introduction of the holiday Pomona which celebrated the goddess of seeds and fruits. After deciding that Pomona was really boring compared to gods like the Lightning-bolt hurling Jupiter/Zeus amalgamation, the Romans opted to instead add their influence in the form of Parentalia, the festival of the dead.
Fast forward through a bunch of boring things into the wild and crazy times of the 9th century and we get the next important step in the evolution of Halloween. Mister Pope Gregory III (PG3 to Redskins fans) instituted a new holiday because, frankly, November was kind of a drag. To get everything off on the right foot, Greg invented All Hallows Day on November 1, which celebrated all of the empty bodies of the Catholic saints whose souls had hitched a ride on up to heaven (at least, I presume that’s what it means with the whole “hollow” thing and all). That made the formerly pain-in-the-backside-to-say holiday of samhain into a much more easily muttered “All Hallow’s Eve.”
And well, from there one thing led to another and before anyone knew it Halloween stood for two things:
- Halloween Holiday Origins & Today’s Popular Halloween Traditions (berries.com)
- Halloween History: Samhain (spookshop.wordpress.com)
- Are you ready for Halloween? (ireport.cnn.com)
- Guest Post: Halloween Blogs to get spooky with…. (northernmum.com)