Every year, Halloween is celebrated on 31 October and this year, the festival falls on a Sunday. People celebrate Halloween by going to church, lighting a candle, and praying. It is also celebrated by carving pumpkins, wearing scary costumes, and watching horror movies.
History and significance of Halloween:
Celebrated mostly in western countries, Halloween has different beliefs with respect to its origin.
Halloween means holy evening or All Saints Day. In the eighth century, All Saints Day was celebrated to honour saints. The eve of All Saints Day was called All Hallows Eve which then came to be known as Halloween.
It is also believed that Halloween originates from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. In Ireland, Halloween was called Samhain which meant the end of summer. The festival was celebrated by people wearing spooky costumes and lighting bonfires at night. The tradition of donning a spooky attire was followed to keep ghosts away on 31 October. The night of 31 October was believed to be the night when spirits from the other world visited the living world every year.
The festival of Samhain marked the beginning of a cold winter and the end of the harvest season. This time of the year was also linked to death and decay. Hence, Celtic people celebrated Samhain on the boundary night of summer and winter by praying and lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits.
Why is Halloween celebrated on 31 October?
In countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom, it was believed that 31 October was the night when the boundaries between the living and dead were blurred. The ones who were dead could visit the world of the living and their ghosts came down on Earth on 31 October. The Celtic people who lived around two thousand years ago also shared the same belief and since they celebrated their New Year on 1 November, Halloween is celebrated on 31 October.