Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic celebrations of Samhain, which were undertaken on 31st October every year and have a 2000-year old history. The festival marks the beginning of the colder months and also the barren part of the year. It has been associated with the dead and their spirits. It is believed that the dead walk the earth on this night and therefore, earlier, people used to light bonfires and wear animal skins for protection from spirits. There are many such traditional practices associated with Halloween that continue to be observed even today. In the following lines, we have listed the popular traditions and rituals associated with Halloween.
Popular Halloween Traditions & Rituals
Trick Or Treating
One of the most widely recognized traditions of Halloween is ‘trick or treating’. On the occasion of Halloween, children donning Halloween costumes go from house to house, asking for treats such as candy. When they ask for candies, they also put up a question to the owners of the house - 'trick or treat'? As Halloween approaches, celebrators, especially, purchase candies or prepare them at home for the children of the neighborhood.
Some Halloween costumes have a traditional association with the occasion. The traditional costumes that can be worn by the celebrators include those of demon, devil, ghost, ghoul, grim reaper, monster, mummy, skeleton, vampire, warlock, werewolf and witches. These costumes are popular till date and are still worn by the people on Halloween parties. However, with time, many new costumes have also come to be donned by people.
Making Jack-O'-Lanterns on Halloween, by carving pumpkins, is the most identified Halloween tradition. A candle is placed inside the hollowed pumpkin and the face is carved in a scary way. Later, the carved pumpkin is given a mass burial. The legend of Jack-O'-Lantern comes from the Irish folklore of Jack. He was an old drunkard who tricked the devil into promising him that his soul would not be taken away by the Devil. After his death, Jack was not allowed in heaven and even the devil did not take him in. Henceforth, Jack hollowed a turnip and put an ember inside him to guide him in darkness and began wandering on earth.
Some mythical creatures, like ghosts, ghouls, Dracula - the blood sucking vampire and mummies, are also traditionally associated with Halloween. In folklores, bats are closely associated with vampires. Evil spirits are also understood to have a traditional connection with Halloween. In fact, the original pagan holiday of Samhain was celebrated to ward off the evil spirits. Black cats too, are one of the traditional creatures Halloween is most recognized with. People use them as props for their Halloween parties, now-a-days.