Today is one of my favourite days of the year (apart from my birthday, Christmas and the start of the summer holidays). Yes, today is Hallowe’en and because I am apparently too old for trick-or-treating, I will curl up on the sofa with a bowl full of sweets watching Coraline and Pan’s Labyrinth instead. I can’t believe that it’s here already! So instead of revising for my looming mocks and controlled assessments, I have decided to research the history of Hallowe’en and write it up in a blog format, just for you.
Hallowe’en actually originated from a pagan Celtic festival called Samhain (you pronounce this ‘sow-in’, not ‘samhayn’ like how I pronounced it). This festival marked the end of summer and the start of winter as it was believed that during that period of time, the dead could come back to Earth and annoy and harm the living. In order to protect themselves, the druids built massive bonfires as they believed that this would ward away the dead. They also made offerings to their gods.
These beliefs were then mixed with Roman beliefs when the Romans invaded the British Isles. Roman gods, such as Pomona, Goddess of fruit and trees, may have influenced some traditions (for example, this may have created apple bobbing) because harvest was around the same time. However, pumpkin carving comes from 17th Century England.
After that, the Church tried to put an end to these festivals by putting All Saints’ Day on the 2nd of November. As you can probably guess, this wasn’t very effective as Hallowe’en is still around today (not that I’m complaining, of course).