What’s With Halloween?

Written by Lee Wilkinson

Halloween basically started it’s life as an ancient Celtic festival when people would light fires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits and ghosts. In the 8th Century, Pope Gregory the third was responsible for bringing it into the calendar when he designated November the 1st as the day to honour ‘All Saints’ thus it would seem strange today that many people who are devoutly religious think of Halloween as a time of evil rather than of good.

The evening before became known as ‘All Hallows Eve’ and in some circles became a time of cleansing when old spirits could pass from this realm to the next and make way for new ones. As with many religious rituals, traditions took their place in the process and soon we went from fires and costumes to adding personal artifacts such as ‘Jack O Lanterns’ to ward off evil spirits on ‘All Hallows Eve’. This quickly became carved pumpkins and then ‘trick or treating’ and as with any good holiday that is passed down to the people, celebration and festivity quickly followed.

There are many thoughts and beliefs surrounding Halloween. Centuries ago the people thought that if they allowed the old spirits to move on to the next realm, their crops and harvest seasons would be fruitful. Witches soon became associated with the event and all sorts of rituals sprung up around the Wiccan culture. In America after the first settlers were established, it was generally limited but was quite prominent in Maryland and some of the southern states. Of course today, Halloween is greatly thought to be an American holiday. Some of the decorations, costumes and pumpkin carving can be quite elaborate. Halloween signals the start of the popular American holiday season, followed by Thanksgiving and then Christmas and unlike here in the UK, Americans decorate up to two weeks before Halloween adding to their project as the days go by.

For me, it’s a fun holiday. No matter how you celebrate, have fun and be safe.

You can hear Lee on Northhertsradio.com midday Saturday's

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