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The Halloween Tradition

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Miranda Lopez

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Mexican Posada
December 17, 2018
A+giant+Mickey+Mouse+jack-o-lantern+glows+in+Town+Square+at+Disneyland+on+Halloween.%0A%0A%0APicture+made+at+Disneyland+in+Anaheim%2C+California.
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The Halloween Tradition

A giant Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern glows in Town Square at Disneyland on Halloween.


Picture made at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

A giant Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern glows in Town Square at Disneyland on Halloween. Picture made at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Joshua Sudock

A giant Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern glows in Town Square at Disneyland on Halloween. Picture made at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Joshua Sudock

Joshua Sudock

A giant Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern glows in Town Square at Disneyland on Halloween. Picture made at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Halloween, previously known as All Hallow’s Eve, is a holiday celebrated each year in the United States on October 31. The word hallow refers to sacred and is directly related to the Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Holy Day. All Hallow’s Eve was the night before All Saints’ Day. Over time the phrase collapsed into one word: Halloween.  The All Hallow’s Eve celebration originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would ignite bonfires in graveyards and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. The word Samhain itself translates to “summer’s end” in Gaelic. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. They celebrated their new year on November 1 marking the end of summer.

The Celts believed the end of summer brought the death of life and nature and brought the harvest. To celebrate the event, the Druids, an ancient religion associated with the Celts, created sacred bonfires, where the people assembled to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. Throughout the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, that consisted of animal heads and skins. They also believed ghosts came back to the earth on All Hallow’s Eve and would find them if they left their homes. To steer clear of being recognized, the Celts wore masks when they left their homes, to ensure that the ghosts confuse them for other spirits. The tradition of carving a Jack O’Lantern originated in Ireland as well. Pumpkins were not a part of Ireland–turnips were carved instead. The Celts carved turnips on All Hallow’s Eve and placed an ember on them to ward off evil spirits.

Halloween origins of the Samhain traditions of Celtic Ireland.

The Celtic-European roots made its way into the American tradition and culture, where the population is expected to spend $9.1 billion on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes every year. In the late 1800s, America was swamped with new immigrants–including those from Ireland, which helped popularize the celebration of Halloween. Around the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween became a non-religious celebration with parades and local Halloween parties.

Halloween traditions around the world vary from place to place. In Mexico, Latin America and Spain All Souls’ Day takes place on November 2. It is commemorated with a three-day celebration that starts on the evening of October 31. The purpose of the celebration is to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween. In Mexico, this celebration is known as Dia de Los Muertos. It is important to know that Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not a Mexican Halloween. Even though both celebrations are closely related, the two annual events differ in tradition and purpose. The ultimate purpose of Day of the Dead is to demonstrate respect and love towards deceased family members. Families gather and build an altar for the dead in their homes and decorate it with candy, flowers, pictures, and most importantly the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks so that they can feast.

Steef V
Mexican Day of the Dead altar.

 

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About the Writer
Miranda Lopez, Writer

I am a senior at Xavier College Prep, and I am head athletic trainer and football manager. I am passionate about art and photography. I hope to attend...

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The Halloween Tradition