HALLOWEEN - What's the origin of this popular holiday? - Uvanu International

Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en, All Saints’ Eve, Samhain … In this post, we’ll tell you the origin of this popular holiday.

October 31st Halloween


This celebration of Celtic origin dates back to the 19th century in Europe. Internationally it is celebrated mainly in the Anglo-Saxon countries (Canada, the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom), although over the years, its celebration has also spread to places in Europe and Latin America.

Its origins are linked to the Celtic commemoration of Samhain or “End of summer holiday” and the Christian holiday of All Hallow’s Eve, celebrated by Catholics on November 1st.

This festivity is associated with pumpkins, costume parties, “Trick or treat”, jokes, haunted houses or spooky houses, horror movies, bonfires, and black, purple and orange colors.

The word Halloween comes from the contraction “All Hallow’s Eve”

This traditional theory derives from the old Irish and its “End of summer party – Samhain”. Celtics also celebrated the end of the harvest, what they considered The Celtic New Year. The Celtic New Year inaugurated the “Dark Season” and it was believed that a line was opened between the “other world” and the world where the Celts lived, the “real world”.

Through “the dark line” the spirits passed into the real world, the reason for which homage was paid to the ancestors, and the evil spirits were frightened through costumes and masks of terrifying appearance. (Hence the popularity of Halloween costumes.) The purpose of the characterization was to avoid being harmed by evil spirits.



This recent theory claims the mesnie or mesnada, which means, army of zombies, or procession of deads.

“According to the testimony of William of Auvergne in the thirteenth century, the procession of the dead was called” Gallican vulgari Hellequin et vulgari hispanico exercitus antiquus “(” in Gallican Hellequini and hispanic ancient army or ancient host “)” Wikipedia.

In this theory, the name of Halloween would derive directly from the name of the Captain of the procession of dead from Northern Europe, which was also known as Harlequin.



This celebration is currently one of the most important Canadian and American calendar festivities.

Halloween is a good time to meet up with family and friends and have a good time decorating the house, eating typical sweets like the candy apple, or knocking at the houses with the famous “Trick or Treat”.

Also, and as it couldn’t be otherwise, the gigantic commercial deployment of this festivity has made it popular more and more over the time since parties and costumes, for many, is a way of business. Cinematography, shops, bars, restaurants … More and more people are joining this magical celebration.


It is said that you have to put a candle for each deceased relative in order not to be bothered by the spirits, if not, the spirits will haunt the family with terrible nightmares.

The pumpkin illuminated from within is known as “Jack-o’-lantern”. A spirit that, according to an Irish folktale, wandered with a turnip illuminated as a lantern. Jack was roaming between heaven and hell by not being accepted in either of the two places. From the illuminated turnips it was passed to the illuminated pumpkin since it was easier to carve it with horrendous figures. If you want to know the story of Jack-o’-latern click here.

The Ibero-American countries have their own traditions and celebrations, but always with a common denominator:  the world of the deceased.


How is Halloween celebrated in your Country? Leave your comment and share!







Source: Wikipedia, History.com

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