Every year, on the last day of October, many countries around the world celebrate Halloween. The term Halloween is actually an abridged form of the phrase All Hallow’s Evening or All Hallow’s Eve.
Ancient Celtic festival
The tradition traces its roots to the old Celtic feast called Samhain. This festival was held to celebrate the culmination of the annual crop season. The celebration was a time when pagans of ancient days would gather their harvests to be stored in stock houses for use during winter. The pagans had a belief that at the end of the month of October, the domains of both living and dead people took over one another so that the dead would come to earth and cause devastation in the world of the living. People would be plagued with serious sicknesses and the crops completely wiped out. These misfortunes were however attributed to the activities of the pagans on the same day.
The celebrations included merrymaking before bonfires and the fires were said to attract insects and bats that would come in swarms. The result would be a massive infestation of the crops, thus explaining what really caused the devastation apart from the general concept of the dead returning to earth to wreck havoc on the people.
Halloween celebration expanded and spread to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland and most parts of Europe. Much later, Halloween became known in the Middle East and in many Asian countries. This cultural evolvement is attributed to mass media especially through the television that air various shows on how this event is observed. Traditional celebrations consist of costume parties, trick-or-treating, ghost hunting activities, carving of pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and decorating houses and public places with ghoulish objects.
Festive spirit and commercialism
As Halloween continued to evolve in later years, the occasion has become a widespread festivity in most countries worldwide. Around this part of the year, malls and shopping centers take the opportunity to promote products associated with the occasion. Much like Christmas, Halloween has turned to be an opportunity for commercialism. Department stores promote items that carry the theme of the holiday. Costumes and masks in spooky designs are on sale. Pumpkins are hot commodities during pre-Halloween season such that pumpkin farmers usually open their patches for the public to sell their products. Children usually wear Halloween costumes and then knock on doors to trick-or-treat for candies or coins.
Trick-or-treat fun event
Trick-or-treating is very popular among children in places where Halloween is recognized. This has become a major part of the occasion as households generally take time to prepare some treats such as candies, chocolates and other goodies to hand to trick-or-treating kids. “Trick or treat” means the trick-or-treating visitors will mess around the property if they do not get treats from the owner. Despite the popularity of this practice even in previous years, an opposition rose in the mid-30s when adults criticized it as a way of teaching extortion to the children. In the 50s, children in the United States staged a protest with regard to this trick-or-treat tradition. They put up a parade, holding banners with the message: “American boys don’t beg.” Apparently this was in reaction to the general public opinion that children who went trick-or-treating were beggars, a gross misconception of an event that was supposed to be fun.