October is here, and its onset marks not only the beginning of the month but also, most importantly, it marks the beginning of the big countdown until the arrival of Halloween! Loved and feared by many, this fantastic holiday is the main reason why so many fall lovers exist. Besides offering a variety of excellent and breath-stopping activities, it's also worth mentioning that Halloween is exceptionally light on the pocket (excluding the stocking up on treats in order to prevent some mischievous tricksters). After all, during this time of the year, it is entirely acceptable and even considered trendy to ignore the presence of spider webs in your home and to use them as a creative holiday decoration. And speaking of holidays and decorations, another vital matter emerges. If Christmas is considered the most wonderful time of the year, don't you think it's only fair if Halloween also gets a name of its own? Let's refer to it as the spookiest time of the year- quite an earned title, right? But then again, every holiday possesses its own magic, and the magic of Halloween happens to hide exactly the stories behind its name and its origin.
So let the history lesson begin!
Although not the oldest fest in the world, Halloween is considered to be the holiday with the most mysterious and debatable story. It is widely believed that the Celtic and Gaelic death-themed harvest celebration Samhain is what sets the beginning of All Hallow's Eve. Still, on the other hand, some researchers argue that Halloween is a Christian holiday and has nothing to do with the ancient customs mentioned above. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. Let's check some facts out.
The pagans' touch
Samhain is the name of an ancient festival in the Gaelic and Celtic culture that was observed as a way to end the harvest and to transition into the winter. According to pagans folklore, the cold season was considered to be the "darker" half of the year, and it was also associated with death. The Celts also believed that throughout the celebration of Samhain, every person gains the ability to see ghosts and even fairies! And not only were they visible- it was said that during the festival, all these creatures could enter the human realm and engage in a wide variety of "spiritualized" activities. Charming, isn't it? In addition to that (because why should it end there), according to many folklore tales, at midnight, the spirits of the deceased were free to leave their graves and revisit their previous homes. Pagans legends said that many of these spirits had bad intentions or carried unfinished business from their past lives, and their only reason to visit earth was to find somebody to possess so that they could stay in the world of the living. To escape the potential visits from evil guests, people dressed in spooky costumes in an attempt to warn and scare them away. The Celts also believed in the purifying properties of light and warmth, which is why many of them gathered around big fires on the night of the Samhain where the tribe's druid or shaman would give their predictions for the upcoming winter.
Christianity, and it marks on Halloween.
In the following centuries of Celtic existence, many changes occurred in Europe. In 43 BC, most of their territories were conquered by the Romans, and as a result, the population of both got mixed, as well as their traditions. The Roman's day of the dead Feralia, which was celebrated in late October, merged with the Celtic festival of Samhain. Eventually, in 313 AD, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which recognized Christianity as the Empire's official religion. Around 800 AD, long after the fall of the last Roman emperor- Romulus Augustulus (395 AD), Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe. Half a century later, in 853, Pope Boniface IV declared November 1 to be All Saints' Day. On this holiday, Christians honored all of their martyrs who had met an untimely death. In other words, the Catholics adopted something quite similar to the pagan holiday of the dead- Samhain. A century later, the Church proclaimed November 2 as All Souls Day or Hallowmas to commemorate the common dead as well. Both holidays became joint under the name - All Hallows. But even religion couldn't eradicate the roots of the ancient Celtic superstitions - on the evening before All Saints Day, October 31, people still practiced some mystical pagan rituals and traditions, and thus All Hallows and Samhain slowly became one and the same- united under the name of Hallow'een.
Halloween in the US
The first settlers in the US brought their religious views and holidays along. Among them, of course, was Halloween, which despite still including some pagan beliefs and superstitions, was mainly considered a Christian fest. And to the biggest surprise of everyone, history repeated itself- the practices of the new settlers merged with those of the native folk, the same as what happened to the Romans and the Celts. Thus Halloween was born. Again. The holiday evolved for the second time, adding the beliefs of the native Americans to the already existing mix of Christian and pagan traditions, and this magic potion slowly brewed to become the most mysterious time of the year! Well, not so mysterious after this history background check, but still.
If there is one thing you should learn from this article, it is that holidays are just ordinary days without their history and traditions. The Holiday Blog has prepared some activities to ensure that you and your family have the funniest and spookiest Halloween experience there is!
13 Halloween Traditions
Your kids will love them too! Like some of them. For more information refer to the Spooky meter below.
Ps: The number 13 is completely coincidental.
1. Bake treats together
This is a kid-friendly activity. Make treat or treating even more unforgettable by creating your own treats!
Spooky level: 0 out of 10
2. Indulge in a DIY Halloween project
Check Create Holiday Magic’s Pinterest board for unending project ideas you and your kids can bring to reality!
Spooky level: 0 out of 10
3. Consider adopting a black cat
If you always wondered what is missing in your life in order to achieveultimate happiness, consider adopting a black kitty. Contrary to beliefs, blackcats don't bring bad luck. A cat's purr is proven to have a healing effect
Spooky level: 0 out of 10. Levels could slightly increase if you step on its tail.
4. Carve a pumpkin
Bringing up the classics, shall we? Carving a Jack-o-lantern is the ultimate Halloween experience that you could enjoy with your kiddos.
Spooky level: 2 out of 10: Sometimes, the outcome could be quite scary!
5. Brainstorm Trick ideas with your kids
Create a mischievous plan how to punish the neighbor that pretends for a second year in a row not to be at home
Spooky level: 3 out of 10: Always includes the slight risk that your kids turn into evil geniuses
6. Create matching costumes with your friends
This is an excellent way to get together and get creative
Spooky level: 4 out of 10. Sometimes the outcome can be terrifying! But in a good way!
7. Play a scary computer game
With so many different names on the market, a digital experience might easily be what you are looking for.
Spooky level: Depends. Being home alone is proven to highly affect the Spooky-Meter. VR is not supported (by the meter).
8. Host a Murder Mystery Party
This is another fun get together activity. As a host you can prepare the game in advance and put your friends in the role of investigators.
Spooky level: Depends on you
9. Have a Scary Movie Night
Another classic one. Enjoy (or not) a marathon of your favorite scary movies! Explore some new titles for extra spook.
Spooky level: 7 out of 10. It doesn't matter if you watch it together with friends. Memories tend to come back when you are home alone and expect them the least.
10. Get lost in a corn maze
This is quite a classic and adventurous fall activity that you can also enjoy on Halloween night!
Spooky level: 9 out of 10. Watch out for signs
11. Have a scary story competition with your friends
Don't worry- they probably don't have any interesting ones.
Spooky level: 10 out of 10. They do.
12. Visit a Haunting House
At this point is there even anything that can bother you?
Spooky level: 15 out of 10. Get the heck out!
13. Have a Sleepover
Spooky level: 1000000 out of 10. Who invited Bloody Mary?
Happy Halloween from The Holiday Blog!
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