Happy Halloween Day! Though maybe Indonesians don’t celebrate it, you probably curious on how to celebrate this spooky day.
Kids, and adults wear witch, vampire, and zombie costumes, doorsteps, and yards are decorated with Jack o’ Lantern, and bones. Yup, you know that it is a Halloween Day.
Celebrated widely in U.S., and around the world, Halloween is a popular festival every October 31, where people will go out in a parade at night, dressing up in spooky costumes, and make-up that resemble images of ghosts or devils characters.
What is interesting is today people start dressing up in super heroes or Disney princess costumes which are contrary to those creepy characters. What costume do you want to wear on Halloween?
History of Halloween
So, where does Halloween originally come from? Halloween comes from All Hallow’s eve. All Hallows’ Day is also known as All Saints’ Day on November 1 dedicated to honor all the saints by Western Christians.
The origin of Halloween is derived from an ancient rite of the Celts, Samhain. It is a Celtic festival of Celtic people from around 2000 years ago, who lived in major area of what now is Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France.
Samhain was a ritual on the night of October 31 celebrated by the Celts. They believe that the spirit of the dead return to earth at that time.
So they will wear costumes consist of the bones of animal heads, and skins, while the Druids, or Celtic priests create a huge bonfire. They use the fires to burn crops, and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods.
On that night, the people also believe that the boundary between the worlds of the living, and the dead turns blurred.
For Celtic people, the presence of these ghosts causes a bad harvest, and damages their crops. They also believe that it will be easier for the Druids to make prediction of the future with the presence of these spirits.
November 1 is a New Year for Celtic people. To them, it is the beginning of a long dark, cold winter of the year.
Therefore, the prophecies of the Druids is a great comfort for them to face the long dark winter that often related to human death.
All Saints’ Day
Halloween day also is associated with All Saints’ Day of Christian. In 7th century the church made November 1 as All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day.
Because Samhain rite happened the night before All Saints’ Day, Samhain began to be called All Hallows Eve, and eventually be called Halloween.
Despite no evidence of connection between Halloween, and Samhain, many scholars believed that because the date of All Saints’ Day, and Samhain were very close, they influenced each other, and were combined into what now is called Halloween.
Some Popular Traditions in Halloween Day
Though Halloween is not a public holiday in Indonesia or celebrated widely such as in U.S., England, and Ireland or many other countries, it is interesting to look at some popular traditions people do during the Halloween day. Here are some of them.
Costume and Mask
On the night of Halloween people will put on scary costumes, and masks of horror movies characters such as Id, Dracula or super heroes, and heroines.
Some paint a creepy scar, blood or skulls on their faces. Then they will join a parade that is usually accompanied by a music along the street. People also throw a party for Halloween with their relatives or community.
Costume, and mask are rituals generated from a tradition of Celtic, and European roots in the winter season.
It was a time marked by uncertainty, fear, and worry where food supplies decrease, and people were afraid of dark, and short days of winter.
On Halloween night people would put on mask as a disguise when they went out after dark. They believed that at that night the ghosts walked the earth.
They thought that with the mask the ghosts wouldn’t recognize them. They also put foods outside their houses to prevent the evil spirits from coming in.
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Celtic people also put animal heads, and skins to avoid being possessed by the ghosts during the rite of sacrificing animals to the gods in Halloween eve.
Today, in some countries the parade are held along with a music concert, fireworks, and parties. Costumes, and masks are the iconic highlight in Halloween parties.
They evolve from monsters to princess, politicians, and other public figures.
In U.S. Halloween spending is estimated to reach $6 billion every year. Big spending comes from costume, decoration, and candy. Thus it makes Halloween the second largest commercial holiday after Christmas in the country.
Trick or Treat
Trick or treat is another popular tradition in Halloween. It is when children in costumes will go from house to house to play trick or ask for treat.
In U.S., kids who dress up, and bring their Halloween purse or bag, ask for candies or sometimes money from the neighbors as a treat. Playing trick happens when the neighbors refuse to give them a treat.
Trick or treat tradition comes from a practice in Britain from medieval period until 1930s. Poor people will go door to door for food in exchange for a prayer to the family’s dead relatives.
The food is pastries called ‘soul cakes’. This practice was intended to replace the practice of putting foods outside the house to ward off evil spirits. The practice was promoted by the church.
Instead of soul cakes, candy becomes an iconic sweet in the Halloween festive today. In U.S. one quarter of all the candy is bought for this festive gathering.
In the twentieth century, this rite from Europe known as souling become a trick or treat tradition in U.S. where children in costumes go to the neighborhood asking for food.
In Halloween night, people do Halloween parties involving games, foods, and costumes.
The elements of the community, and neighbor gathering are emphasized in Halloween celebration today rather than its scary, and unpleasant expression.
It seems that the fearsome, mystical, and religious suggestion of the tradition already changed into a non-religious, and modern practices.
Other tradition people love to do in the Halloween night is bonfire. People will create a huge fires, and gather with friends or relatives in front of the fire to enjoy the warm.
The tradition derived from bonfires in Samhain ritual of the Celts. On Halloween night, the Druids, Celtic priests create a huge bonfire where sacrifices of crops, and animals are offered to the Celtic gods.
It is also a mark of winter season that will come soon, and often associated with death, and lack of food supplies.
Jack o’ Lantern
Halloween is also identic with pumpkin. People will cut a pumpkin to make a lid, and empty its filling.
Then they carve a scary or sometimes funny face, and put a candle or tea light inside it. The pumpkin is called Jack o’ Lantern.
The name Jack o’ Lantern is from an Irish legend, Stingy Jack. He is a drunkard who made a deal with the devil.
It is common to see the lantern put in the yard or doorsteps as a Halloween decoration, before or during a Halloween.
In 19th century this practice was began in Ireland, and Scotland. People create Jack o’ Lantern from pumpkin or turnip to prevent the evil spirits to come on Halloween. It also symbolizes the supernatural being.
This practice is brought by the Irish immigrants who came to U.S. In 1873 carving pumpkin was part of American tradition, and related to harvest time.
Today the pumpkin lantern is used to celebrate in parties or other Halloween gatherings.
Not only pumpkin, apple is also a popular fruit used to celebrate Halloween. Apple bobbing is a common practice in Ireland, and England from 17th until 20th century.
Apple bobbing is a game where apples will be placed in a huge basin full of water. Participants should use only their teeth to take the apples out of the basin. Some hold fork between their teeth, and try to remove them.
The game that existed from colonial era in America is used also for fortune-telling. It says that whoever first remove an apple from the basin with teeth would be the first to marry.
Another belief is that if a young woman peel an apple into one strip continually then throw it over her shoulder, the apple skin is believed to form the first letter of her future husband’s name.
Happy Halloween Day
Although was derived from ancient rites around 2000 years ago that carried superstitious, dark, and religious elements, today Halloween is an enjoyable celebration that brings the scary, heroic, and modern symbols together.
It is enjoyed in community through its popular traditions that is getting wider appreciation from society.
Do you also celebrate Halloween in your community? What are some ways you feel excited to celebrate the day this year? Share your thoughts.
Hope you have a wonderful Halloween day with your family, and friends this year.
Bagaimana CARA AMPUH Membeli RUMAH PERTAMA?
- Admin. October 31, 2019. Sejarah Singkat Halloween yang Diperingati 31 Oktober Hari Ini. Tirto.id. https://tinyurl.com/y6g7ser6.
- Benjamin Radford. October 25, 2019. History of Halloween. Livescience.com. https://tinyurl.com/y8g9c2o8.
- October 13, 2020. Halloween 2020. History.com. https://tinyurl.com/ycctukhb.