HALLOWEEN: HISTORY AND ORIGINS
Halloween comes from a 2500 years-old Celtic celebration, dedicated to the god of death Samhain. During this festival that marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the new one, Celts believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. So, on the night before the new year the dead persons could visit their loved ones as well as the places which they knew and loved.
On the evening of Samhain, the Celts dressed up in scary costumes and masks to disguise themselves. They also built large bonfires in each village and performed rituals for expulsion of evil spirits. Indeed, they believed that during this evening, demons, witches and ghosts could attack the living.
Did you know ?
Halloween is now symbolized by a carved pumpkin, but this was not always the case. Originally, during the Samhain celebration, the Irish used to carve demonic faces out of turnips. Then they placed candles inside to replicate Jack O'Lantern's lantern and commemorate the story of his encounter with the devil.
However, in the years 1845-50, a serious potatoes shortage led to a deadly famine in Ireland. Thus more than 700,000 Irish emigrated to America, carrying with them their Celtic traditions and the legend of Jack O'Lantern. Unfortunately, turnips were not cultivated in abundance in their new homeland: instead, they used pumpkins. And that's since we nicknamed the famous Jack O'Lantern Halloween pumpkins!
Halloween is the second highest grossing holiday after Christmas. On this occasion, people transform their homes into terrifying haunted houses, costumed parades and festive events are organized, children dress up with scary costumes and go door-to-door to get candy around their neighborhoods.
*The Legend of Jack O'Lantern
An old Irish tale tells that a certain blacksmith named Jack Stingy, known to be greed and cunning, made a deal with the Devil in order that his soul never be taken by this one into hell. When he died on October 31 after a life of debauchery, God didn't allow him into heaven. Stingy Jack then went down to hell but the Devil wouldn’t let him in either, because of his deal with him. Thus Jack was condemned to wander in darkness for eternity, with an embers provided by the Devil, placed in a makeshift lantern made from a carved turnip.