National Halloween Day:
Halloween, a diminutive of All Hallow’s Eve, is a secular holiday observed on October 31st in most countries, the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallow’s Day. Although it emanates from one of the oldest religious traditions, Halloween is still celebrated extensively in a number of countries across the world.
|2023||31st October||Tuesday||United States|
|2024||31st October||Thursday||United States|
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Related: Other National Days Celebrated on October 31st:
Why National Halloween Day is celebrated?
According to the Gregorian calendar, National Halloween Day can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which was held annually on November 1. The ancient Celts claimed that on this day, the boundary between the physical and supernatural realms was blurred, allowing spirits from the afterlife to haunt the living and goblins to enter people’s homes. Those that participated in the celebrations hoped to fend off as much evil as possible. To keep ghosts, demons, and wicked fairies at bay, they practiced special rituals. They told mythological heroes and underworld narratives. They often intended to shield themselves from evil. How did they do it? They portrayed themselves as monsters to avoid being imprisoned or consumed by evil monsters. The holiday culminated with a bonfire lit among Celtic priests (also known as Druids) to welcome the ghosts back to the land of the living. They offered crops and livestock to the gods during this ceremony. They were still concerned about their loved ones’ temporary return. In essence, in their households, children would play games with the dead, and adults would hold a conversation with them.
Pope Boniface IV established ‘All Saints Day in the 7th century CE, which was first observed on May 13. Pope Gregory III moved the holiday to November 1 a century back, most likely as a Christian substitution for the pagan celebration of Samhain. All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, was the day before the saintly festival. To assist people with their conversion from paganism to Catholicism. And it was fruitful. Many of Samhain’s festivals, such as bonfires, parades, and costumes, were incorporated into All Souls’ Day, though people now mostly dressed up as saints, angels, and demons.
Though it started in the Celtic regions of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France, the holiday rapidly spread to other areas of the globe. For religious purposes, the first American colonists in New England were prohibited from celebrating it, though it was common in the Southern colonies. Fall festivities commemorating the seasonal harvest began to include Halloween components by the 1800s, and Irish refugees fleeing the disastrous Potato Famine brought many Halloween rituals with them that are still practiced today. Because of the new population’s strong religious values, Halloween was a challenging sale in early colonial America, but it was more frequently observed in Maryland and the South. Traditions grew even further as Europeans intermarried with Native Americans. Halloween gatherings coincided with fall holidays, with community activities such as singing and dancing, ghost stories, and jokes. However, Halloween did not become popular in the United States until the second half of the nineteenth century. What is the explanation for this? Irish refugees who fled the Potato Drought carried their Halloween innovations and customs with them.
Trick-or-treating, in which children dress up in costumes and ask neighbors for sweets, became common in the United States in the early twentieth century when Irish and Scottish cultures resurrected the Old-World tradition of “guising,” in which a person would dress up in costume and say a joke, recite a poem, or perform some other trick in exchange for a piece of fruit or other treats.
The popular belief associated with this day is the myth that the souls of living beings who passed away came back to the mortal realm and visited their families and homes. This is essentially the reason why in the status quo, people dress up in scary costumes and light bonfires; the main intent behind this is to ward off spirits.
How Can We Celebrate National Halloween Day:
As it is celebrated in the United States today, Halloween is the day when we can all rejoice in the darker, creepier side of life while still collecting lots and lots of sweets. It’s a lot of fun and a bit scary at the same time. On Halloween, trick-or-treating is a normal occurrence for youngsters. “Trick or treat?” children ask, and they will go from house to house in costume, asking for presents such as candy or sometimes money. If no treatment is received, the word “trick” indicates an “attack” of mischief on the homeowners or their house.
Vampires, zombies, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and goblins are among the mythological creatures portrayed in Halloween costumes. The costume collection grew over time to include recognizable fictitious characters, performers, and generic archetypes, including ninjas and princesses. Halloween parties are popular for saying and listening to ghost stories, listening to Halloween-themed music, and watching scary movies. You can post pictures and videos on social media using #halloweenday #halloween #themeparty #scarycoustume #tricksortreat
New horror films are often released before Halloween to profit on holiday, with episodes of television shows and Halloween-themed specials (usually designed for children) airing on or before the holiday. Haunted attractions are sites of amusement that are meant to amuse and intimidate tourists. The majority of attractions are seasonal Halloween companies, such as haunted houses, corn mazes, and hayrides, mostly with the refinement of the effects increasing as the industry has expanded. Haunted houses are an extremely popular destination for people to visit during the Halloween season as it keeps in with the tradition of spookiness and provides thrills to all people regardless of age.
Theme parks have played a pivotal role in the advancement of vacations. Disney now conducts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party experiences at its parks in Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the United States. Theme park haunts are by far the most prominent, both in terms of size and number of customers.
Baking cookies and making homemade chocolates are the type of food people generally make on Halloween. Baking a light fruitcake into which a simple ring, a coin, and other charms are put before baking is a modern-day Irish tradition.
It is deemed precious to be the one who discovers it. It is also said that those who get a ring will discover true love within the next year. The multiplicity of legends, stories, spooky traditions, and action attached to this festival makes it an adventure for everyone, which is why it is the second most celebrated festival in the entire United States of America.
Interesting Facts about National Halloween Day:
- The name “Jack o’lantern” is derived from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, who is said to be a witch.
According to tradition, Stingy Jack asked the devil to have a drink with him, but because he didn’t want to pay for it, he forced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of purchasing the beer, he put the coin in his pocket and kept it near a silver cross in his home, stopping the devil from adopting any type. He decided to let the devil go as long as he left Jack alone for a year – and that the devil did not claim Jack’s soul if he died. After a year, Jack deceived the demon once more, this time convincing him to leave him alone and not claim his soul. When Jack died, God refused to let such a deceitful person into heaven, and the devil, true to his word, refused to let him into hell. Jack was sent off into the night with nothing but a smoldering coal to lead him. He put the coal inside a turnip that he had cut out and has been walking the world ever since. Turnips, beets, and potatoes were used to make Jack’s lanterns in Ireland and Scotland. Along with the settlers, the practice spread to the United States, where people started to carve pumpkins.
- Trick-or-treating is derived from the word “souling.”
It’s a bit strange to see kids dress up in costumes and go door-to-door like little beggars demanding candy. Like many other Halloween traditions, the tradition can be traced back to the Middle Ages and Samhain rituals. On the night of Samhain, it was feared that phantoms roamed the world, so people dressed up in costumes to fend off the spirits.
- There are 30,581 lit jack o’lanterns on display which made a world record.
According to Guinness World Records, the City of Keene, New Hampshire has the most illuminated jack o’lanterns on display in 2013, with 30,581. Since the first attempt, Keene, who is portrayed by Let it Shine, has broken the record eight times. That’s a colossal number of pumpkins!
- There’s a lot of fortune-telling and sorcery in Halloween mythology
Superstition and fortune-telling abound in old English Halloween stories, such as bobbing for apples and avoiding black cats, which are still observed today. According to tradition, if a young single person steps down the stairs backward while carrying a mirror at midnight, the face that emerges in the mirror will be their next lover.
- Days of the Dead is a better name for the holiday.
The Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de los Muertos, is celebrated in Mexico and a few other Hispanic countries from October 31 to November 2. On November 1st, Dia de los Inocentes, family members decorate graves with baby’s breath and white orchids to remember children who have died. Families celebrate adults who have died by planting orange marigolds on gravesites on November 2nd, Dia de los Muertos. The Aztec festival initially lasted a month, but when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, they fused it with the Catholic All Saints’ Day. Today’s festival combines Catholic masses and prayers with Aztec rites such as skeletons, altars to the dead, and wine.
- Beggars’ Night is a hilarious tradition in Des Moines
Young children in Des Moines took to the streets for Beggars’ Night the night before Halloween. According to a report in the Des Moines Register, the festival started in 1938 as a means to avoid vandalism and provide a better Halloween experience for younger children. Beggars’ Night is similar to standard trick-or-treating, with the exception that children must say a joke, read a poem or perform a “trick” in exchange for a treat. What’s the better part? “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?” is amongst the most shuddering jokes.
- Since it was a bit more risky than necessary, Halloween was “tamed” at the turn of the century.
The 1920s and 1930s saw a deliberate attempt to put Halloween into line with Roosevelt’s New Deal by making it more family-friendly and civilized. Parades and town-wide festivals brought communities together, and newspapers urged parents to keep “grotesque” and “superstitious” components out of these festivities.
- The tradition of burning fires on Devil’s Night can be traced back to Detroit in the 1980s
when people get up to mischief of all kinds — it is synonymous with arson. In October of 1984, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series, fueling over 297 celebratory sparks. The city was seeing repeated acts of arson the year before, but the fires of 1984 were the worst since the 1967 riots. Following that, there was an increase in Devil’s Night fires across the world, especially in Detroit. To combat the excesses, the holiday was called Angel’s Night in Detroit.
History of National Halloween Day:
We might not have Halloween in America if it weren’t for the influx of refugees fleeing the Irish Potato Famine. By the mid-nineteenth century, several parts of America were celebrating a gentle version of Halloween, which included telling ghost stories, making mayhem, and simply marking the arrival of autumn. However, the catastrophic Potato Famine in Ireland, which began in 1845, resulted in widespread immigration, with over 1.5 million Irish citizens fleeing to America during that period. They brought their long-held Halloween rituals with them, and the soon-to-be holiday took off rapidly, spreading across the country. Originally a Celtic tradition, this incident essentially led to this tradition being introduced in the United States of America, where it was incorporated in Christianity, and now to this day, people celebrate it extensively.