Time to scare and get scared: history of Halloween

Author : 112.UA 112.UA

08:01, 31 October 2019

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Halloween is a very specific holiday, in many ways not like all other holidays. Some people criticize it, others do not accept it, some even propose to ban it. However, the popularity of Halloween is growing and spreading to other countries, taking root there just at an alarming rate.

Why? it is widely thought that it’s SIMPLY FUN. One day a year (October 31) people arrange costumed madness, decorate houses with unusual (as for everyday life) details and scare themselves and others.

But this is only one of the opinions, there are many other ones, polar to each other... Okay, let's talk about the holiday in more detail.


Where did Halloween come from?

Well, in general, they say that all this came from Celts. However, there are no convincing evidence (and the Celts have already gone somewhere to Taranis). However, the legacy remains and it has taken roots almost all over the world.

At this point, we take out the Oxford Dictionary and read that the word "Halloween" was first mentioned in the sixteenth century as a Scottish abbreviation of the English phrase All-Hallows-Even (from the English - "Evening of All Saints") – the night prior to the Catholic All Saints Day on November 1.

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 The disposition is as follows. Halloween is like Samhain, except it’s still Halloween.

The fact is that scientists have not yet decided where Halloween came from, but ... BUT. There is a single basic version.

There was such a holiday Samhain. The celebration of Samhain lasted for 7 days (3 days before and 3 days after the holiday itself on October 31). The description of Samhain appears in Old Irish literature of the 10th century. And there also existed All Saints Day. They were neighbors, but then just ... mixed up.

In the eighth century, All Saints Day began gradually replacing Samhain; Due to the interpenetration of Gaelic traditions and Catholic rites, the first rudiments of the future Halloween began shaping up.

By the way, the day after the Day of All Saints on November 2 is celebrated as a Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.

Samhain was strongly associated with death and the supernatural, but it is still not clear how important this holiday was in the everyday life of the Celts.

However, the bottom line is that the holidays are mixed up.

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The idea of children’s’ trick-or-treating on the night of October 31 appeared in the sixteenth century. When Columbus discovered America. Children (and even adult freeloaders) walked door-to-door in fabric masks, demanding food from the owners, doing petty devilry.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the “jack o'lantern” appeared and Halloween began gradually spreading all over the world.

Related: U.S. seeks to change Halloween's date


Smiling Pumpkin (creepily smiling)

This scary pumpkin is the symbol of Halloween - and so, you’ll be surprised right now, but it has a name.

This is Jack O'Lantern. A while ago, a pumpkin defeated a turnip in the battle for the post of the main character of Halloween and now enjoys it almost completely.

Who is Jack? Well, here you have to turn to the legend.

Once upon a time there lived a blacksmith Jack - a fan of booze and money. One day he decided to have a drink with a devil (apparently, there were problems with the company, - ed.)

When the time came to pay, the blacksmith asked the devil to turn into a coin. After that, Jack quickly put the coin in his pocket, where, apparently, a  silver cross prepared beforehand was already lying. Thus the devil was trapped.

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Then there were negotiations, and the devil had to promise not to build intrigues for Jack for a year, and after his death not to claim for his soul.

But there was a second time (the devils were naive those days, - ed.).

The second time, Jack outwitted (let us call it that) the devil by asking him to climb a tree for fruit (the usual request of a man to the devil, indeed, - ed.).

The devil climbed a tree, and Jack scribbled a cross on the trunk. Thus, bargaining for himself another 10 years of a carefree life.

The only thing is that he didn’t live 10 years, and soon he died. And after his death, the blacksmith was not allowed into Paradise, and his plan failed.

And so: he couldn’t go to Paradise, no one would let him in Hell, so Jack had to wander the earth waiting for the Judgment Day. He had only a piece of coal to light his road, thrown by a devil to him.

Jack put a smoldering light into an empty pumpkin and went on a ramble. Thus came the name of the lantern - "Jack's lantern", or if in the original language - Jack-o-lantern.


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