Halloween can be traced back as far as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts were a farming and agricultural people who lived by the seasons, and Samhain marked the end of summer and the time for harvest before the onset of winter.
The festival marks the boundary between the world of the living and the dead. The Celts believed that on the 31st October the dead would return and in order to ward them off large bonfires were lit in the villages
When the Romans conquered Europe in 43 AD, they adopted and adapted existing celebrations. And subsequently so did the Saxons, Jutes and the Angles. In the years that followed invaders brought with them the Christian faith including the festival of All Hallows Day, a day to remember those who had died for their beliefs.
This originally took place in May but sometime in the 8th century Pope Gregory moved the feast to the 1st November in an attempt to assimilate the Celtic Samhain festival of the dead with a related but church approved celebration!
So the evening of the 31st October became known as All hallows eve, then Hallowe’en and eventually Halloween.
Different cultures celebrate the day in different ways. We have all become familiar with the carving of pumpkins, and bobbing for apples and in recent years children across the UK have adopted the American act of Trick or Treating which originated in North America in the late 1920’s.
However you are spending the 31st October, we hope that you enjoy this mid-Autumn day, stay safe and warm.