The meaning of Halloween is linked to its origin, which is yet to be fully grasped. Some factions of believers believe it had pagan roots and was Christianized by the early church, while others believe it is a legitimate Christian celebration separate from pagan belief. The origins of Halloween are yet to be fully grasped. Whatever the case, Halloween, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, is a day set aside to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints and other faithful who have passed on. In most parts of the world, Halloween is celebrated on 31st October. It marks the beginning of a 3-day observance of Allhallowtide.
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By now, the question, what is Halloween has begun to get the appropriate answers. Some of the activities carried out during this day include trick-or-treating, playing pranks, lighting bonfires and telling frightening stories.
History of Halloween
The history of Halloween can be approached from three perspectives; The Gaelic and Welsh influence, Christian influence, and its spread to North America. Somehow, it is by understanding the history of Halloween that you would be able to give the answer to the question what is the origin of Halloween.
The Gaelic and Welsh
The first notion states that Halloween, as we know it today, was greatly influenced by the beliefs and practices of the Celtic-speaking countries who had pagan roots. Nicholas Rogers, a historian observes that some folklorists have pointed the origin of Halloween to the Roman feast of Pomona, who was the goddess of seeds and fruits, or in Parentalia, the festival of the dead.
Halloween is more likely linked to Samhain, a Celtic festival, which originates from old Irish for summer’s end. Samhain was seen as a period when the gap between this world as we know it and the other world thinned. In most, if not all parts of Britain and Ireland, Halloween day was celebrated through rituals and games that were purposed to foretell one’s future, more so in marriage and death. To some, this is the true meaning of Halloween pagan.
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Some factions of historians believe today’s Halloween was influenced by Christian practices and dogmas. According to this, Halloween is the eve of the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day. It has been a tradition, since the time of the early church, for people to keep vigil the night before a big feast or celebration, e.g. Christmas and Easter. Therefore, 31st October was named All Hallows’ Eve and November 2nd, the All Souls’ Day. These days are referred to as Allhallowtide and are dedicated to honouring the saints and praying for all the recently lost souls that have not yet arrived in heaven. The Allhallowtide became an obligatory holy day across Europe from the end of the 12th century. Since then, it has been celebrated with traditions such as ringing church bells for the souls in a place of suffering before going to heaven.
Spread to North America
Spread of the happy Halloween as has until recently been known, in North America, was influenced by the Anglican colonists in the Southern United States and Catholic colonists in Maryland, who recognized All Hallow's Eve in their church calendars; according to the writings of Lesley Bannatyne and Cindy Ott both. Nonetheless, it was not until the mass immigration of the Scottish and Irish people into North America that Halloween became a big holiday in North America. This happened in the mid 19th century, and the celebrations were limited to the immigrant population and communities, and gradually leached its way into the mainstream society. By the 20th century, Halloween was being celebrated by people of all cultures, religion, and races in entire America.
The spiritual meaning of Halloween
Halloween is seen as a day to celebrate the death and rebirth of the world and everything within it. In the northern hemisphere, it marks the beginning of winter, a time when nature dies because of the winter cold, whereas, in the southern hemisphere, it marks the beginning of a new season when newly formed buds are getting ready for rebirth and growth during summer.
The spiritual significance of Halloween is the celebration of the dead. The belief that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest at this period means that it is the time to let go of all things that we have lost and to begin a new chapter of freedom. It is a time to make peace with yourself and everything. In pagan Samhan, Halloween was celebrated as soon as the time hit 1/11. It is believed that the veil is thinnest due to the sun’s position and the instinctive Scorpio sign. Scorpio sign is translated as a time of transformation and paying regards to the cycles of death and rebirth.
What does Halloween mean in the Bible
Halloween is mainly a celebration of the western world, and it has no link whatsoever with the Bible. Nonetheless, there are Biblical principles that people use to define Halloween. Some of these Biblical relations can be understood if you learn more about Halloween history. It is, therefore, highly erratic to say that Halloween is a Biblical event.
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Halloween meaning in English
Halloween is celebrated on the night of 31st with children wearing costumes and knocking on people's doors, asking for treat or tricks. Treat or trick means that you either give the children treats or they trick you. In most cases, these costumes are of ghosts and witches.
What is the meaning of Halloween in Ghana and Africa at large, you must be asking. Halloween in Africa is mostly an adaptation of the western world Halloween. It has, however, not set its roots deeply into the African lifestyle. The Halloween celebration is slowly picking pace among the youth, mostly those with interest in western culture. The older generation has no interest in this celebration, with a few of them even knowing about it. It is right to conclude that Halloween in Africa is not part of the mainstream culture.
With this information, Halloween is not a mystery anymore. You should be able to decide whether it is a worthy day to celebrate or not.