Why do we celebrate Halloween?

Halloween has grown hugely in popularity over the last decade in the U.K. but where does halloween come from and why do we celebrate it on 31st October?

The history of Halloween involves more than sweets and fancy dress. It started more than 2,000 years ago as a pre-Christian celtic festival called Samhain, which means “summer’s end”. This festival was held at the beginning of November and signified the final day of the harvest but it also celebrated the crossing of spirits into another world.  It was believed that at this time the boundary between this world and the next was thin and allowed them to connect with the dead. At the festival, people would ward of ghosts by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes. This is where the “haunted” origins of Halloween comes from and we celebrate it on 31st October because this is when the festival of Samhain, the earliest known history of Halloween, took place.

Where does Trick or Treat come from?

Believe it or not, trick-or-treating existed even in medieval times. The tradition was known as “guising” in Scotland and Ireland and involved children dressing up and asking for “soul cakes”, a snack similar to biscuits or money. Over the years, this concept has evolved into trick-or-treating. Likewise, the costumes which children now dress in are completely different. They began as tributes to Saints but this gradually dropped off until young prankster got the idea of dressing up in scary costumes to spook neighbours. The idea caught on and that brings us to today where Halloween costumes have become scary, funny and spooky all at the same time.

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