Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Halloween, Traditions | Posted on 31-10-2011
Tags: Celtic, dark side, day of the dead, death, dia de los muertos, Halloween, harvest, tradition
I’m tired of all the Halloween nay-sayers. They are turning their backs on traditions that began in the Middle Ages. That’s 2,000 years ago! Historians tell us that Halloween goes back to an ancient Celtic festival celebrating the end of the harvest season on October 31. For them, this marked a transition time. Light and darkness. Life and death. Historians believe that the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc. Masks and costumes were worn to appease the evil spirits and scare off ghosts.
The tradition of “trick-or-treating” possibly originated, again, when the Celtic people left food on their doorsteps for the spirits who came around, to prevent them from entering their homes. Others believe that the British handed out “soul cakes” on All Souls’ Day, a holiday observed on November 2 to commemorate the deceased.
In Mexico, El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is celebrated whereby the spirits of the dead visit their families. Instead of fearing the dead, the Mexican culture embraces death, and the dead, by celebrating with joy.
Today, kids across the U.S.–and many other parts of the world–partake in some of the rituals that began in the Middle Ages, albeit a bit differently. Our modern Halloween still celebrates the harvest (pumpkins) and abundance of harvest (candy) and the dark side, or death (scary costumes and decorations).
So many people complain that we have no traditions left in our culture, so why rip on a 2,000-year-old holiday?