Sunday, 31 October 2010
All Hallows' Eve
The origins of Halloween date back to Celtic times, some 2000 years ago. It's believed to link back to pagan festival of "Samhaim" which marked the end of summer and the begining of "the dark times". On this day the Celts believed that the spirits of all those who had passed the pervious year would rise during Samhaim to search for bodies of the living to possess for the next 12 months. To avoid possession the towns folk would make their homes and themselves as uninviting as possible by wearing drab old clothing and extingishing the fires in their homes to make them cold and dark. They would parade in the streets yelling in an attempt to ward off the evil spirits.
Over the years this Celtic festival mergaed with others such as the Roman festival of Pomona which celebrates the goddess of fruits and seeds - this is believed to be to orgins of our modern candy apples and "apple bobbing", a game tradionally linked with Halloween.
The term Halloween doesn't make an appearence until the 16th century, it's derived from the Old English name "All Hallows' Even" (or "All Hallows' Eve (ning)") A Catholic religious observance the night before All Saint's Day on the 1st of November.
In modern times Halloween has come to represent an evening of parties, dress-ups, pumpkin carving, games and trick-or-treating. Mostly a Northern Hemisphere tradition Halloween has in recent years become increasingly more popular in Australia, with small town such as Korumbarra in South Gippsland, Victoria holding huge Halloween theme events on the the 31st of October at the local historical park, an evening enjoyed by hundards each year (including myself). Happy Halloween everyone.