Americans LOVE Halloween.! It has grown and is now second only to Christmas, in money spent to celebrate. Spending in 2017 is slated to reach a record high of $9.1 billion.
This is up from $8.4 billion last year. Is is projected that $3.4 billion will be spent on costumes. Candy is a must and 95% of people plan to purchase treats to hand out.
Halloween is a fun day when even grownups have an excuse to dress up like a super hero or pirate. We all have a little kid left in us - hopefully!
Through the centuries, as the days get shorter, the nights get longer and chilly - damp weather makes its entrance, humans have come inside and thought of ways to liven up the darkness. What better way than to have parties and festivals. Halloween began as a Celtic festival in Ireland. The Celtics, who had roamed the United Kingdom and France as early as 800 B.C., had colonized Ireland by 500 B.C. The Celts recognized only two seasons, the warmth and light of the summer season, and the cold and dark of the winter season. They celebrated their New Year at the end of October with a festival to celebrate their recent harvest and to give offerings to their God Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic God of Death and Darkness. They would often go door- to- door collecting food to donate to their deities. The young Celts would ask for kindling which they would take to the top of a hill for the Samhain bonfire. These are the possible origins of "Trick or Treat."
The Druids were the Celtic (priest - magicians - wizards -soothsayers) and they played an important role in the society. On the evening of October 31st they would gather at a hilltop forest (Oak Trees were sacred) and would light bonfires and offer crops and animals to the God of Darkness - Lord Samhain. He could wander only during hours of cold and darkness. The festival lasted three days and many people paraded in costumes of animal skins. The Celts believed that the veil between this world and the next was the thinnest at this time and spirits could cross over. Friends and relatives who had died would often return, with their souls inhabiting an animal - a black cat. Many believed that all the souls of the people that had died that year would rise up and search for passage to the netherworld. Samhain would try to gather souls to take to the underworld. To thwart him - the living would build bonfires and families would light candles in their windows to help the dead find their way and to keep Lord Samhain away. On this night when the living and the dead were the closest, many wore elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits, witches and devils in case they encountered other spirits and devils in the night. By disguising themselves they could avoid being carried away by the "otherworldly".
In the 1st Century when the Romans invaded Britain, they brought their customs with them including their fall festival. Centuries after the first celebrations - Catholicism had converted most of the pagans, but the celebration on October 31st didn't disappear. In time the Catholics combined their celebrations with the on-going Celtic one - perhaps to downplay its significance. The Pope created a day for all the Saints on the day after this festival. "Hallow" is an old English word for "Saint" so, the night before ALL SAINTS DAY was "All Hallows Eve" - which over time was shortened to HALLOWEEN. The next day, November 2nd, was created as ALL SOULS DAY. This was to commemorate faithful Christians who had died but weren't Saints. So October 31st thru November 2nd was given the name HALLOW TIDE.
1. October 31st is HALLOWEEN - the
eve before Hallows.
2. November 1st is ALL SAINTS DAY - commemorating all the Saints.
3. November 2nd is ALL SOULS DAY - commemorating ALL good souls.
4. The whole shee-bang is lumped together as HALLOW TIDE.