The Haunted Roots of Halloween

Oct 25 2018. view 123

The month of October is synonymous for Halloween and has embarked a lot of traditions around the world, from trick-or-treating to Halloween costumes to horror houses and many more. The outburst of Halloween as a day of fun started from the US and gradually spread across the world. But the true story of Halloween isn’t quite fun and rather grungy. 

Earliest Origin of Halloween 

Halloween is said to be originated from the Ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain. This tribe called the Celts existed 2000 years ago in the lands which is now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France and they have commemorated their new year on November 1, which denoted the end of Summer and the end of harvesting leading into the dusky times of the cold winter. To them, winter was connected to human deaths and they believed that the night before the new year, the border between the worlds of the living and dead dissolved and the spirits revisited the earth (much like what’s portrayed in the movie Coco). The Celts also believed that these spirits caused trouble, damaged crops but also enabled the Celtic priests to predict about the future easily. So, they assembled huge sanctified bonfires, where the Celts met to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the spirits and they dressed in costumes that had animal skins and heads. This is the earliest remarks of Halloween that has been found. 

Declaring of All Saints Day

In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1st as All Saints Day, which was previously dedicated only for Christian martyrs by Pope Boniface IV in 609 A.D. By the 9th century Christianity had reached the Celtic lands where it slowly emerged with their culture replacing the old Celtic traditions. In 1000 A.D., the church declared November 2nd All Souls’ Day to respect the dead and it was commemorated with parades, dressing up on costumes of saints, angels and devils and lighting up huge bonfires. All Saints’ Day was also named All-hallows or All-hallowmas and the night before it, what was the Ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain began to be called All-Hallows Eve and ultimately, Halloween. 

The celebration of Halloween was only limited to colonial New England and as different European ethnic groups came down to the US, their traditions also descended with them and that is how the celebration of Halloween came down to the USA, but took a more celebratory theme to it rather than being sacred. Which once done to respect and commemorate the presence of spiritual deities is now celebrated along the world as fun filled night.  


Devini Wettimuny

Devini Wettimuny is a writer, a marketer and a food scientist who has a degree in Food Science and technology. She has a quirky personality and is in the pursuit of bringing her love for food and writing together.



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