The Modern Celebration Of Halloween Was Heavily Influenced By The Festival Of?
Once upon a time, Halloween wasn’t Halloween as we know it, but a much older festival known as Samhain. This festival, marking the end of the harvest season (and the beginning of winter) in Gaelic culture, was celebrated in ancient times between sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st–placing it roughly between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
In Irish mythology, the festival marked a liminal time where the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead grew thin and spirits could enter our world. There were feasts and offerings to help appease the spirits (as well as celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest) and a great deal of superstition and preparation was invested in warding off evil. Celebrants would often wear costumes as a way of imitating, and disguising oneself from, the Aos Si (spirits or fairies) while going door-to-door, reciting verses in exchange for small tokens of food.
Another tradition that will sound all too familiar is the tradition of carving turnips (and later pumpkins) into grotesque faces and then hollowing them out into lanterns to represent spirits and supernatural beings or scare away evil spirits. The practice spread to England where they became known as jack-o’-lanterns.