When witches go riding and Black cats are seen,
The moon laughs and whispers, it’s near Halloween
May Jack-o-Lanterns burning bright of soft, golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you?
October is coming to an end and we know it’s that time of the year for Halloween celebration as it is just around the corner. It is also known as the Hallow Eve, a holiday worldwide and celebrated as a time to get good fortune. Halloween is celebrated on 31st Oct.
Fun to be seen on Halloween
We find all busy buying coloured candies, scary costumes, masks, jack-o-lanterns, candles and goodies. Witches, princess, wizards, pirates, vampires, zombies and superheroes are to name some of the costumes ready to be sold. According to the National retail federation’s 2012 the Halloween spending consumer survey, almost 80 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween with their weird costumes this year and they would spend close to $3 billion on their costumes.
That’s a huge sum. Why this Game of trick and cheating or treat and tricking? Why should we wear weird costumes, disguises, start frightening people, keep a pumpkin carved face or the much heard jack-o-lanterns on our window? For many this would be the strangest day of the year. It does sound so. Let’s get back to the different times and see what Halloween is all about. Halloween has its association with many religious beliefs. But what is Halloween?
It is said the Romans worshipped the lord of fruits and seeds Goddess Pomona and had a feast on the 31st Oct. It also marks the end of the harvest season and the time to collect, stock taking of everything and prepare for the cold winters to set in.
Druids of the Celtic order in Britain celebrated and worshipped Samhain the lord of death on 1st Nov. The Druids believed that lord Samhain would send in all the evil spirit and wicked souls like the witches, vampires, ghosts on this day and so to please the god and protect themselves from all evil on 31st October they would offer sacrifices. Now do you get the connection about all the costumes of ghosts, fairies, elves, cats and vampires coming from?
About hundreds of years ago the Irish farmers used to go door to door begging for food for offering to the gods with an intention that good luck and fortune would come to those who were good to them. They went along saying “You treat me or I will trick you”. The Trick or treating is the influence of these beliefs. The jack-o-lantern or pumpkin face again is an Irish belief to scare away evil spirits from home.
The modern Christians wanted to separate these celebrations as Christian feasts and so instead of praying to god and goddess they offered the day to pray for the dead souls of saints specially and celebrated it as “All saints day” on 1st November. On this day they offered special “Alhallow mass” and the day before 1st Nov was called “Alhallowed Evening”. Praying for dead souls and souls in purgatory was on “All souls day” on 2nd November. Halloween to some extent is the influence of these holy days.
And what is Halloween today for us
Today the religious beliefs or holy evening has no more of its value. The old and scary practice with today’s modern thinking and commercialising is the Halloween we enjoy today.
Its popularity somehow became strong in the 1800’s and more or less now it’s a time for family bonding and a popular family oriented day of celebration and enjoyment. It has been celebrated as a day of fun and frolic with lots of excitement. Children today dress up in fancy and weird costumes and go house to house to get their goodies or treat or else they will do a trick and try to win the treat they deserve. Houses are decorates with pumpkin faces and Jack-o-lanterns, candles and scary things. There are Halloween parades, parties, organized and it’s a fun filled day to get away from the mundane life otherwise.
Tips for a safe Halloween
Halloween is a great time when families come together, enjoy and have fun. In good spirits let us all remember that any fun when played safe is good. So with the fun in mind and a great community spirit this Halloween let’s remember a few things:-
- If you’re participating in any Halloween Parade, listen to the volunteers and follow the instructions.
- Parents need to be extra cautious of their children and do accompany the smaller kids when they go from house to house or are joining the parade.
- Select costumes which are bright colourful comfortable and parents ensure that the kids costumes are visible. Masks can be harmful for smaller kids so go in for painted face instead. It gives better vision than wearing a mask.
- All drivers be very cautious while you drive through and drive slowly as there would be small kids running on the roads or streets as well.
- Winters set in so the climate can be cold and chilly so ensure you have warm clothes inside.
- Instruct your child not to eat any goodies until you have seen it. Ask them to have a goodies bag to collect it and not to have any candy which is not wrapped.
So are you in the Halloween spirit and do let us know what are you going to be this Halloween?
Have a Happy, joyous and safe Halloween