HALLOWEEN FUN! OR SORROW?

HALLOWEEN FUN! OR SORROW?

Sriram Chakravadhanula, journalist

“It’s fun… Because you get to dress up with friends… and get Candy!” In one sentence, freshman Sua Choi accurately describes most people’s primary vision of the holiday. Walking around in spooky costumes, socializing, and most importantly- eating candy. In fact, it seems to be the fuel for the holiday. Of the 5 people interviewed, only one was able to give a decent explanation of the bare beginnings of the holiday.

Halloween is a very special celebration, for it developed from many different cultures, traditions, and holidays. Originally it came from the Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light large bonfires and use frightening costumes to ‘scare’ away ghosts and spirits. Later, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a day to honor all saints and spirits. The day before ‘All Saints Day’, became known as All Hallows Eve. These holidays were brought to the US in segments, first through colonization, and later through the mass immigration caused by the Irish Potato Famine and depression. In Scotland and Ireland, kids performed poems, dances, or riddles in costumes in return for food and drinks. To my surprise, in some cases, Trick-or-treating actually comes from times of sorrow. Poor families begged the wealthy landowners for a meal in exchange for promising to pray for the wealthy’s dead relatives. Sadly, poor people turned to trick-or-treating for help, because they did not have alternative options.

Slowly, Halloween transformed into a day to gather around bonfires and to talk about harvests, stories of the dead, and spirits. From then on, Halloween started to grow in popularity around the US through media such as scary movies and modern trick-or-treating. Whether Halloween is a time to socialize and chow down on sugar or to mourn and respect the dead, it is a blending pot of many different cultures and traditions. The fact still remains, many don’t know much about Halloween, but the consensus shows an overall love for the holiday.

More information on Halloween…

Origins of Halloween

 

Origins of Trick or Treating