All Hallows Eve: A Brief History Lesson

Oh how I love Halloween. Free candy, all night parties (okay, they’re not exactly my cup of tea, but there’s no denying that the people who attend them are having fun judging by my neighbours) and an excuse to become someone or something else for a night. It also displays an interesting aspect of human behavior; why do people participate in these kinds of traditions, and where do they come from in the first place? Unless someone just decided one day that they were going to throw a white sheet over themselves and go to everyone’s door to see if they could score some free goods, then there’s probably a deeper reason that’s a little more rational that explains this rapidly spreading phenomenon.

I’m not much of a history buff, but I have encountered different versions of the earlier practices of All Hallows Eve, and most of those stories share certain commonalities. The historical practices were based around the idea that on October 31st of every year, the spirits of the dead were able to come into the world of the living, and we all know that that’s never a good thing if Supernatural has taught us anything. To prevent those spirits from wreaking havoc, the people would disguise themselves in costumes in the hopes that the spirits would be fooled into thinking that they were also spirits, and therefore would not cause them any harm. The candy likely came from a similar tactic, a means to appease the spirits by giving them offerings.

It’s an ancient tradition, and the thing with the older traditions is that in our modern society, their purpose becomes distorted, and all that’s left is a celebratory occasion where lots of money is spent on costumes, candy and the dental treatments later on when they end up with mouths full of cavities. It’s still one of my favorite times of the year. What I find the most interesting is how traditions spread from one country to another, even if the cultures are entirely different. For instance, there are still countries who have no idea what Halloween is, and yet ever since the Halloween practices were adopted like countries such as Canada and the US, more and more countries began to participate in similar activities. I figure it’s mostly because they think it looks like fun, even if they have no idea what the actual purpose of the occasion is. And who can blame them? Halloween is fun no matter what age you are!

So when you go out tomorrow night, dressed up as a buffed up Batman or a box of Nerds -Batman is cool, and I just like nerds, in case you needed an explanation for the strange examples – try to keep in mind that what you’re wearing, and what ends up in your basket, could be potentially saving you from a terrible haunting. As I will be dressed up as River from Firefly, I think I’ll be pretty safe.

Happy or Joyeux Halloween 🙂

 

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