Is Halloween a pagan holiday?
Is Halloween a pagan holiday?
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The word “Halloween” has originated in the Catholic Church. It began from a contracted bribery of All Hallows Eve. According to Halloween history, November 1 is an “All hollows day” (day of all Saints), a Catholic day of celebration in honor of the Saints. But in Celtic Ireland during the 5th century BC, the summer formally ended on October 31. This holiday was recognized as Samhain, which indicates the end of summer and start of Celtic New Year.
Halloween is originated from the pagan festival of Samhain, where the people lit the bonfires. During this season, the pagans used to store the winter essentials and food. They believed that the ghostly powers and creatures visit the human world on this day to destroy the crops and give diseases. Therefore, people dressed up in ghostly costumes and masks to appease the power of the evil spirit or not to get recognized as a human being among the spirits
People wear ghostly masks and costumes to mimic spooks, ghosts, and other evil power. Parties and get-togethers are organized, in which people dress up as per the party theme to have fun.
Halloween became apparent with the time and thus its tradition as well. Today people dress up as a historical character, cartoon character or a popular icon.
In some countries, Halloween is considered a beggar’s night’. They believed that on this day, the poor people go from one door to another to get the food (apples, butter, cheese, bread cakes, eggs etc) in return to the prayers for the dead persons. This activity was performed on 1st November and was described as Hallowmas. This tradition evolved with time and now celebrated as trick or treating. Generally, kids go door to door to ask for the option of trick or treat. Usually, they are treated as no one wants to get tricked by little spooks!!
This custom probably has a number of origins. The Druids considered that the dead or spirits would play tricks with human beings and cause destruction and panic. They had to be mollified, so the folks would provide food to the Druids when they visit home.
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Also, in the ninth century, a European custom referred to as selling (All Souls Day) came into existence. This was celebrated on November 2. As per this customs, the Christians would walk from one village to village ask for the soul cakes. These cakes are made from the square bread pieces and currants. The Christians used to pray for the donor in return for the soul cakes. It was believed that the soul of the dead lingered in limbo for sometime after death and the prayer (even made by the strangers) could expedite the passage of the soul towards heaven.
As the Irish people migrated to the United States, they also took along their customs and culture. They mixed with other people, notably Mexicans and others who also contributed part of their culture to Halloween.
I think we have explained with all details. Is Halloween a pagan Holiday? Or not.