The Religious Roots Of The Festival Of Halloween.

1176 words - 5 pages

Halloween is an extremely enjoyable festival that occurs every year on October 31st. It is mostly celebrated in the United States and Britain and my talk today is associated with the British version of this holiday. Today many people see Halloween as a pleasurable holiday, for both adults and children. The celebrations of the ancient Celts are still evident in modern festivities as you can see from the old traditions still practiced today. October 31st today is a time for dressing up, eating sweets, scaring both ourselves and each other and holding parties. Many people consider it to be their favourite holiday of the year.Modern Halloween is all about dressing children in their favourite costumes, walking from house to house, collecting sweets and treats. Many families also decorate their homes and gardens with cobwebs, skeletons and jack-o-lanterns. However, the true origins of Halloween have become almost unrecognisable in today's celebrations, although they do include many traditions that I will outline.·Costuming - The Celts wore these to ward of evil entities that were believed to be roaming the earth on that night. They could also be worn in some ceremonies as a symbol of becoming closer to their Gods. Later, when the festival turned to the Christian All Hallow's Eve, people were still extremely superstitious and continued to disguise themselves by dressing in costume to confuse the spirits. Today, costumes of modern themes are worn on Halloween by children going trick or treating and by adults seeking fun and amusement. Many parties that are held in honor of this festival are themed and ask for the guests to dress in costume.·Trick Or Treating - Our modern custom of trick or treating may have originated from several similar old customs. I will just concentrate on one of these, a ninth-century European custom called 'souling'. Children would walk from village to village begging for 'soul cakes', made out of square pieces of bread with currants. For every cake that a child collected, he or she would have to say a prayer for the dead relatives of the person who gave the cake. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for some time and that a prayer, even said by a stranger, could send the soul to heaven. Today, children walk from house to house asking for sweets, but not in exchange for prayers.·Bobbing For Apples - In Celtic tradition, apples were associated with female deities who controlled the ways of love and fertility. This may have had something to do with the pentagram (a star with five points) shape that you see when you slice an apple in half. The pentagram was an important shape for the Celts and it was largely recognised as a Goddess symbol. The pentagram today is still used in fortune telling and spell casting. The apples were used by the Celts in fortune telling in two main ways. The first is where we got the modern tradition of apple bobbing from. It was for young unmarried people, who...

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