Halloween Series Part 1: All Hallow’s Eve

People of all ages enjoy Halloween; the candies, costumes, all the spooky things. But have you ever wondered where the name comes from?

Today we’re going to take a look at why we call it ‘Halloween’.

There is some debate as to the origin of Halloween. Some believe it to be a Christianized festival with pagan roots, while others believe it to have strictly Christian roots, developing apart from paganism.

One possible and often cited pagan root comes from the Celtics and their festival of Samhain, which celebrates the end of the harvest season and took place from sundown October 31st to sundown November 1st. It was consider a time where spirits and fairies could cross into our world with ease and the ghosts of dead would return. People would leave gifts of food on their doorsteps to keep the ghosts out.

The Celtics were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many deities and lived in what is currently the United Kingdom and parts of Northern France.

In the early 600s A.D, Pope Gregory the First sanctioned Interpretatio Christiana in which he allowed pagans to retain their cultural activities and beliefs, all while claiming that they honoured God in order to aid in their Christianization. To do this with Samhaim, it is believed that All Saint’s Day was moved to November 1st.

All Saint’s Day is a celebration in honour of all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, and was also called All Hallow’s Day, hallow meaning holy. The evening before became known as All Hallow’s Eve. In Scots the word for evening is even and is usually contracted to e’en or een. Eventually, All Hallow’s Eve became Halloween.

And that’s why we call October 31st Halloween!

I hope you found this post interesting.

Next week — pumpkins!

pumpkin

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