Halloween is a tradition in this country. It is looked forward to by many. A chance to dress up to have fun with friends and family and ‘trick or treat’, but how many people know the real history behind Halloween? The commercialised Halloween we know today is not the same as before.

Originally Halloween was an ancient Celtic pagan holiday named ‘Samhain’. It was a holiday celebrating the close of the harvest season and the start of the new Celtic year. This period was thought to be when the veil between life and death was at its thinnest and spirits could supposedly roam the earth freely. The people lit a large bonfire to attract the ghosts back to the world they arrived from. However, as the influence of the Catholic Church became stronger, pagan traditions began to dim and were less popularised. 7th century came around and the Vatican commenced to unite with churches. November 1st was claimed as ‘All Saints Day’ due to the death of martyrs and the faithful. The day was utilized to commemorate them.

All Saints day was at the time known as ‘Hallowmas’. The translation of the title approximately meaning mass of the saints. The previous night, October 31st, being ‘All Hallows Eve’. This phrase eventually differed into the name ‘Halloween’. The holiday reached America through the immigration of some Irish communities.

With this event came tricks and pranks by the children. These customs quickly became harmful and were categorised as vandalism. Masks and costumes were worn to keep from any recognition. Citizens feared destruction of property and that was essentially used as a bargaining tool for candies and treats. Hence the term ‘trick or treat’. During the original time it was almost a warning, ‘give us candy or we will destroy your house’. As an alternative, children were encouraged to travel door-to-door for a treat.

My friends and myself have enjoyed going from door-to-door and celebrating. It is not something publicized in many other countries and an amazing thing to witness take place. Unfortunately, this year most were unable to perform this holiday and we have strayed further from the tradition than ever before. Still we can hope. Better luck next year.