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What is Halloween All About?

what_is_halloween_all_about

Since the beginning of October, my kids are counting for the end of it, for the big day: Halloween.

Today I woke up in a scary mood, some scary dreams are guiding me lately.

When I was leaving my kids for school, the mother of a friend of my kid asked me

“How are you?”

I said

“more or less, I woke up just dreaming a scary one and still in the effect of it”.

And she said

“Ohh Halloween is coming.”

So I came home and began to search for the roots of Halloween as it was not part of the culture that I grew up in. Also, I enjoy sharing with my kids the stories of the ceremonies and rituals of them.

I found out that at the end of October some different cultures’ rituals mixed and combined. Let’s start with the root of Halloween, in the search of human’s united story.

Its Roots

Halloween or Hallowe’en, Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

I know All Saints’ Day from Spain, where people are visiting cemeteries to remember their ancestors.

Some people say that the roots of Halloween are coming from Samhain, the Celtic festival. Celtic people were celebrating the 31st of October and 1st of November as the final of the harvests and considered as the New Year where the dark season was starting.

They believed that the doors were opening for the dead people’s souls to pass to the world.

It seems that with the immigration from Europe to America, these celebrations had continued.

On the other hand, it is believed that in South America, ancient cultures such as Aztecs, Mayas, and Toltecs were celebrating ‘Día de Los Muertos’ but around July and August and the celebration was taking place around 1 month.

With the effect of Spanish colonization, this day also changed to the same day as All Saint’s Day.

This is why, in Mexico on the 2nd of November, they are celebrating Día de Los Muertos, even though both Dia de Los Muertos and Halloween have different roots.

Halloween Rituals

  1. Trick-ot-treating: This is the ritual that my kids are looking for. Kids are going around to homes to ask for treats, basically candies. If not, they can respond as a trick, as the evil spirits can be around. People can put Halloween decorations in front of their homes as a sign to show that they accept the trick-or-treating game.
  2. Wearing Halloween costumes
  3. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, to frighten evil spirits. There is a nice story around Jack-O-Lanterns.

    One day a guy called Jack-who was a man with not so nice behaviors came across as a devil and convinced the devil to climb on an apple tree. Once the devil was up on the tree, he put all around the devil crosses, so the devil lost its powers. 

    Jack lets the devil go just after he promised that he would never get the soul of Jack. 

    One day Jack died and as he could not go to heaven because of behaviors and he could not go to hell because of the promise of the devil, he stayed in the pure darkness with no place to go. 

    He asked for a light to the devil, to be able to see where he could go. Devil gave him coal. Jack took the coal and put it inside a turnip and continued to travel to find a place to rest.

  4. Lighting bonfires

  5. Apple bobbing: sounds like a nice game to try. To a bucket full of water, put the apples and let the kids get with their mouths the most of them.

  6. Divination games: which day could be better to predict the future of each other than a day where the spirits are passing through our world.

  7. Playing pranks: The day of doing jokes with each other.

  8. Day of feeling fears: visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films. 

Scary stories were a big part of my childhood, making me face my horror. Halloween made me remember that.

When I was a kid, in summer I was going to the mountain house of my grandfather. With other kids, who were elder than me, at night we were sitting inside the cemetery in our neighborhood. There they were explaining to us scary stories. 

What are my plans for Halloween?

I will take this day as an opportunity to practice with my kids accepting both our dark sides and bright sides.

I feel it is a great time to begin to talk about fear, put some light on our darkness. 

We will go to a park in our neighborhood where people give candies to children, maybe I can write something on my door so other kids can ask for candies from us as well. 

I will try apple bobbing and I will tell them the story of the Jack and we can prepare a Jack-o-Lantern with something. 

I will try to remember some scary stories and tell them to my kids. Let’s see how they will react!

What about you? What are your plans for Halloween?

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