Just what is Halloween? For many, it is only a reason to dress up and be someone else for a night. For kids, it’s a chance to collect loads of free candies and chocolates. For business people, it is an yearly money-making machine. In fact, Halloween is essentially a holiday so mixed up with historical facts that people perceive it as a night when you wear a costume and be whoever you want to be. This is rather fitting, considering that historically, this holiday has had a similar identity crisis. Below are four major things you likely did not know about Halloween.
Rather than January 1, the New Year started on November 1 to the Celts. For them, it started at the end of summer harvest and the onset of winter. The Celts believed that the eve of November 1 was the time dead and evil spirits roamed the earth to cause tremendous problems including destroying crops and carrying lives out. The existence of these spirits allowed the Celtic priests to make predictions about the coming winter months and the future of the tribe’s people. This led in individuals wearing costumes in an effort to hide their true selves from the evil spirits.
The practice of trick-or-treating originated from bad people begging
Begging is a lowly thing to do, whilst trick-or-treating is fun and kids love doing it. While both are basically the same, the sole difference between them is that the latter is sanctioned, thus the nationwide popularity of this practice. However in some US states, Halloween is known as the”Beggars’ Night”. Historically, trick-or-treating really is a form of extortion. Often called”souling”, these folks would go door to door begging for food and clothes, and they would offer to pray for the spirits of the deceased in exchange.
The last of these deals was that Satan would not take Jack’s soul when he died. Upon his death, Jack was unaccepted in Heaven because of his evil ways when he was still a mortal. He then decided to remain in hell but Satan kept his end of their deal and denied him entry. Rather, Jack was forced to wander endlessly in the shadow between hell and heaven, with a lantern he made from turnip which was lit up with the fires of hell provided by the devil himself, Satan.
In America, Halloween is the second-largest Business holiday
Second to Christmas, an estimated $7 billion is spent annually on decorations, candy, costumes, and more, in preparation for a single night of Halloween madness. However, this holiday had more modest beginnings. Decades before, the holiday was celebrated by only a few communities and states with fortune-telling and games played in the streets. It was only during the 19th century when immigrants started wearing costumes and the idea of trick-or-treating was invented. It soon gained fame across America and from the 20th century, the holiday had lost most of its spiritual themes and began to take shape as a commercial holiday that we all know today.