Can you imagine trick or treating among the flowers in May? That’s when Halloween used to be.
Back on the 13th of May of 609 A.D., the Catholic feast of “All Martyrs Day” was established. It was eventually moved to November 2 (probably to blend and supplant the older Celtic festival of “Samhaim”) and later renamed “All Soul’s Day” or “All-hallows.”
The night before, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween!
Halloween, the evening before All Saint’s Day was moved from spring to fall and became much scarier!
Moving the holiday from warm spring like weather to chilly autumn, however, changed the whole nature of the celebration. All around, the weather was growing colder and plants were dying. As the grasses died, people had to decide which livestock they would feed all winter and which would be slaughtered. (The colder weather meant the meat would last better than it would in the heat of summer.)
So, it was a cold and bloody time of year. Brrrr! A holiday amid spirits and slaughtering feels very different from the spring like days of flowers and little lambs.
All Saint’s Day was moved to the time that most Western Europeans slaughtered their animals! A rather bloody time of the year!
Europeans countered the colder, darker times with bonfires and light in the darkness. Late October and early November nights are much darker than those of May. Some of these practices continued into the Christian era with Day of the Dead bonfires.
To ward of those spirits of darkness, scary masks and costumes were worn. Those spooky Halloween costumes are a tradition to this day, as trick-or-treaters dress as skeletons, ghouls, zombies and the walking dead.
Finally, the colder weather brings the tradition of cakes and fattening treats, something we do not normally crave in the springtime filled with fresh new greens. Trick-or-treating just seems to be the right kind of indulgence as we get ready for winter.
Boo! Source: Wikipedia
A Halloween in springtime wouldn’t quite feel the same, would it? Today, we defy the growing cold and darkness with food and fun!