We explain what Halloween is, how it originated, and the cultural traditions it includes. In addition, its characteristics and elements.
The celebration of Halloween (All Hallows' Eve), also known as Night of the Dead or Eve of the Dead, is a modern rite product of the Christianization of the pagan festivals of Celtic origin that took place at the end of the summer.
Its date of celebration is October 31 in the western countries of Anglo-Saxon tradition, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Ireland, and to a lesser extent in Spain and Latin America (due to cultural penetration), or in Australia and New Zealand.
In its celebration , black, orange and purple decorations, costumes, scary stories and symbols such as the sculpted pumpkin (the famous Jack-o'-lantern) are used . Today it is a cultural landmark that has a strong presence in Western mass culture .
Other theories regarding its origin assure that it comes from the Latin word Hellequin , which is the name given among the Gauls to the head of the procession of the night of the dead, which would relate the term Halloween with the Spanish word “Harlequin”.
In the case of Halloween it is about the Celtic, Roman, Christian, British and North American cultures . Other examples of this are a large part of the Latin American tradition (a mixture of European, native and African culture).
Among their traditions was the celebration of the summer solstices , in a rite called Samhain ("End of Summer") in Old Irish, or Calan Gaeaf in the language of the ancient Britons. This holiday is supposed to mark the beginning of a new Celtic year and the temporary opening of the door to the world of the dead.
The Celts then wore masks and costumes to drive away evil spirits and invoke the protection of the favorable.
Halloween, however, survived by adopting various Christian forms and contents, such as the presence of the apple, so important in the biblical story, but also linked to the Celtic celebration of the solstice.
It was they who implanted the pumpkin carving and much of the imaginary that is still preserved. However, it was not until 1921 that Halloween was celebrated en masse in the United States.
It has become an important icon in mass culture with representations in film and television , associated with children's costumes, the imaginary of horror stories and home decorations with spider webs, bats and pumpkins sculpted and illuminated from the inside. .
In Ireland, it is a tradition to bake fruit cakes , into which a ring and a coin are inserted, as an omen of the future fortune of whoever obtains them: love or wealth will smile at you.
In the Mexican case, gastronomy is more complex and rich: the bread of the dead, sweet skulls , saint's bones and many other forms of food are traditional to commemorate the date.
Instead, it has acquired other senses that point to the connection with the hereafter, with the world of spirits and with the imaginary of the sinister, of vampires, monsters, and ghosts.
Hence, it has been a frequent setting for films, novels, and fictional horror stories.
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