Holiday commonly associated with jack-o-lanterns, candy, trick-or-treating and crazy dressing ups has a more spooky ancestry than what it grew up to be. Here is why!
First of all, the holiday as we know it has a sad past, which is far different from its modern, highly Americanized and very orange version. Irish immigrants brought it with them when escaping the 1840s and 1850s famine. The tradition of trick-or-treating is said to be started by the poor, knocking from doors to doors of the rich and begging for food.
The pumpkin element also has a more depressing background than what we would imagine. Mainly, an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack who was condemned to a never ending walk between heaven and hell. His only source of light is said to be a hollowed, turnip lantern.
The very early starts of Halloween origin from a Celtic pagan festival known as Samhain, dating back more than 2,000 years. October 31 was the end of the year and Samhai-the end of summer, the harvesting of crops and the beginning of the darkest period of the year. Livestock was then usually slaughtered, hence the pressure on death. Full of superstition, Irish people would dedicate food and gifts to honor the dead or soften the evil spirits. Most importantly, the Celts also believed that the dead are walking and present among them and during that holiday, they could visit them.
Although the name ‘Halloween’ origins from a Christian tradition, the holiday is much against it. Interestingly, the Bible stresses that ‘there must never be anyone among you who…consults ghosts or spirits, or calls up the dead’ (Deuteronomy). Moreover, in Corinthians it can be read that ‘I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too’.
As we can see, that mass-media holiday has a more spooky side to it, highly criticized by Christianity and finding its origins even in the Great Irish Famine.