The celebration of Halloween occurs annually on the evening of 31st October. It is less commonly known as All Hallows Eve or All Saint’s Eve. November 1st is the Christian Feast of All Hallow’s Day
What does it mean?
The tradition of Halloween is older than Christianity itself. The tradition originates back to the Celtic festival of Samhai which was a pagan religious celebration to mark the end of summer. This early pagan festival of Samhain involved ritualistic ceremonies to hold contact with spirits. People would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.
What people do in the UK to celebrate Halloween
Go trick or treating
Watch horror movies
Trick or treating
What’s this all about?
The roots of trick-or-treating date back to the Samhain festival, where people would prepare banquet tables with food left out to appease unwelcome spirits.
In later centuries, people began to perform antics in exchange for food and drink. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages and is thought to be an antecedent of trick-or-treating.
Such traditions faded with the arrival of Christianity to Celtic shores. During the 9th century, the act of ‘souling’ became popular and poor people would visit the homes of the wealthy and receive soul cakes in exchange for prayers for the souls of departed loved ones.
Did you know that not all pumpkins are orange? They can also be green, white, red and blue.
What is a Jack-O’-Lantern?
A jack-o’-lantern (or jack o’lantern) is a carved turnip or pumpkin or other root vegetable made into a lantern. The vegetable’s inside is removed and the top is cut off to make a lid. A scary face is then carved into the front and a candle or tea light is placed inside to create the effect.
Why is it called this?
Its name comes from the reported phenomenon of strange lights flickering over peat bogs, called Will-‘o- the- wisp-‘ or jack-o’-lanterns.
The name is also tied to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunk who bargains with the Devil and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way.