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Now is the Halloween season in the US. Even in Japan we are starting to celebrate the season, and we see people wearing costumes. I remember going around my neighborhood with bags shouting “Trick or treat!”


Why is this event called “Halloween”? Why do we dress up? and Why is it in this season? Do you know?

Many may think that it is a tradition that started in US, but when you study its origins, it starts much earlier.


Celtic festival

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Halloween is said to have its origins around 2,000 years ago in a Celtic festival called Samhain. For the Celts, November 1st was a beginning of a new year, so October 31st was new years eve. During new years eve, people believed that the dead would come back to the land of the living to destroy crops and do evil things.

During the time where the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, people believed that they could predict the future as well, so sacrifices were made, and people held festivals wearing animal furs.


Roman holiday

All Saints' Day - Wikiwand

Later on, after Romans ruled over the Celts, the Roman traditional festival mixed with Samhain. Around the 9th century the Christian influence grew stronger, and “All Saint’s day” began to be celebrated at the same period, which became the basis for the current Halloween we know.


Halloween

Halloween is made up of 2 words “Hallows(Holy ones)” and “Eve(Night before)”. So the name itself means “The evening before All Saint’s day”. The Celtic festival mixed with Christian celebration to make something that is a bit confusing in the end. I hope that now that you know a bit more, you will be able to enjoy Halloween more. Happy Halloween!

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