Legend of Halloween

Essay by labobcatCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2007

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Ghost, goblins, ghouls, witches, and monsters all come out on Halloween. Known for a time to go trick-or-treating, having festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", viewing horror films, and going on haunted hayrides, Halloween is a time for the young or young at heart to dress-up and pretend to be the scariest things imaginable. However, Halloween was not always fun and games. The origins of Halloween date back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtics. Druidic priests regarded the day as the end of the year. Not only was it their day for celebrating the year's harvest, but October 31 itself was also the day of Samhain, a festival for honoring the dead. In order to appease the wandering spirits they believed roamed at night, the Celtic priests made fires in which they burned sacrifices, made charms, and cast spells. The following paper will take a closer look at the history, traditions, myths and folklore that surround one of the scariest nights of the year, Halloween.

The History of HalloweenHalloween, as the holiday has become known today, originated from a festival called Samhain, meaning "Summer's End" and was believed to be a time when the world of the gods was made visible to humankind and tricks were played on man. Samhain was considered by the ancient Celts to be a dangerous time of year. The primary beliefs of Samhain are that the souls (disembodied spirits) of those who had passed before would return to walk the earth once more to visit their homes, possibly in search of family members. The Celts, out of superstitious beliefs, would take various measures to protect themselves from these disembodied spirits. Bonfires would be set on hilltops in hopes of frightening away evil spirits, and people would dress up, wear masks, and disguises to...