The spookiest night of the year is getting closer, seems like it’s about to reach us at any moment. It’s also a super fun night when people make the most of it and get dressed up, channeling their inner child, enjoy candy and spend the day (and most of all the night) doing typical Halloween activities. But exactly when is Halloween? When did this holiday fist become a thing and most importantly why?
We know you might have a ton of questions you’ve never really asked before (because let’s face it, we just enjoy Halloween, no questions asked), but don’t worry! Keep reading and you’ll learn when is Halloween and exactly why did it become such an important Holiday for all of us.
When is Halloween?
This popular holiday known as Halloween, by the way, is actually a contraction of Hallow’s Eve, or Hallow’s Evening. This night is also known in other places as Allhalloween, All Hallow’s Eve or All Saints’ Eve. The most popular day to celebrate this night in several countries is October 31st, because that’s when the three-day observance of Allhallowtide began. (But more on that later)
If you’re still not convinced when is Halloween, we’ll put it in simpler words: Halloween as a popular and modern holiday is always on October 31st; but since it originally meant the beginning of a religious three-day celebration, there are some countries that actually recognize November 1st or November 2nd as their main holiday. In some countries like Ireland, this Holiday was once actually celebrated as late as April 20th. Now, there’s another origin for this holiday which traces back to Celtic culture; for them their year ended on October 31st, as well as their crop season.
The origins of Halloween
So, we’ve established when is Halloween, but know it’s time you know a little bit about how it started. Halloween’s days of celebration are actually called Allhallowtide, it’s known as a religious three day period of the Western Christian church meant to remember the dead, including martys, saints and even departed children.
Loosely translated from old English, the word means “season of the saints” and there was a time when instead of three days this period took 8 whole days. It’s also a popular religious belief that, on these days, the veil between the afterlife and our world thins. Sounds like a spooky story, the perfect origin story for Halloween right?
The other theory (possibly the most popular one) about when is Halloween tells us about the Celtics, who celebrated the end of their harvest season on October 31st. On this date as well, they believed their beloved departed came to visit our earth, so they used to leave food and treats outside their houses for the dead to find them; also they lit up candles for their relatives and other sounds to find the way.
Why do we celebrate it?
So, we’ve explained how exactly did this holiday began, but that doesn’t really tell us much about how it became the spooky yet fun tradition we know and love. It all comes down to the Colony. Anglican colonists all over America recognized All Hallow’s Eve in their church calendars, which were very important at the time.
But it wasn’t until the 19th century that, along with a great migration or the Irish and Scottish, slowly the holiday began setting only on October 31st. By the beginning of the 20th century it was already celebrated nationwide. Also, the celebrations began transforming from a religious ceremony to more fun, community-involving activities.
These old traditions and celebrations might have started as religious beliefs, but now they are all about having fun and spending a special day. Nowadays Halloween traditions include pumpkin carving (check out this link if you want to learn how to do it), dressing up with scary or funny costumes, trick or treating and making or going to haunted houses.
As you see, the topic of souls and the dead slowly turned into a scary theme (thanks Hollywood!) so now we know it as a night to scare and get scared. It doesn’t matter which way did this holiday came from, on Halloween you just have to enjoy the spirit and try out all of the cool traditions that you only get to do one night a year!