What does Halloween mean?
Halloween means “All Hallow’s Eve”, a word which comes from Old English and means “eve of all saints” as it refers to the night of October 31, the eve of the Feast of All Saints. However, the old Anglo-Saxon custom has stolen his strict religious sense to hold in place the night of terror, witches and ghosts. Halloween marks a return to ancient paganism, a trend that has also spread among Hispanic peoples.
Brief History of Halloween
The celebration of Halloween began with the Celts, the ancient inhabitants of Eastern Europe, Western and part of Asia Minor. Among them lived the Druids, pagan priests worshipers of trees, especially oak. They believed in the immortality of the soul, which they said was introduced into another individual to leave the body; but on October 31 he returned to his former home to ask for food to its inhabitants, who were forced to make provision for it.
The Celtic year concluded on this date which coincides with the fall, whose main characteristic is the falling leaves. They meant to death or initiation of a new life. This teaching spread through the years along with the worship of their god the “lord of death” or “Samhain”, who on this day invoked to consult on the future, health, prosperity, death, etc. .
When the Celts were Christianized, not all renounced pagan customs. That is, the conversion was not complete. The chronological coincidence of the pagan festival with the Christian feast of All Saints and All Souls, which is the next day, made to mix. Instead of remembering the good examples of the saints and pray for ancestors, filled with fear at the ancient superstitions about death and the dead.
Some Irish immigrants introduced Halloween in the United States where he became part of popular folklore. Were added various pagan elements from different groups of immigrants to eventually include the belief in witches, ghosts, goblins, monsters Dracula and all species. From there, it has spread throughout the world.
October 31 evening, in the countries of Anglo-Saxon culture or Celtic heritage, the eve of the feast of All Saints is held, with a whole set that before remembered the dead, then with the arrival of Christianity to the souls in Purgatory, and now have become a mental salad with no shortage of belief in witches, ghosts and the like.
In contrast, in the countries of Mediterranean culture, the memory of the dead and care for death focuses on the November 2, the day after the celebration of the resurrection day and the joy of paradise that awaits the Christian community, a family of “saints” as St. Paul understood.
Different traditions come together, mingle and influence each other in the beginning of November in the cultures of the West. In Asia and Africa, the worship of ancestors and the dead has strong roots but not so tied to a specific date and in our culture.