Why is Halloween Celebrated
Halloween is celebrated on the evening of October 31st, which is the evening before the Christian feast of All Saint’s Day. Halloween’s history goes back to the ancient religion of the Celtic tribes (circa 500 B.C.) from whom came the Britons, Scots and the Irish. Present day Britains, Scots, Welsh and Irish are all descendants from these ancient Celtic tribes.
The Celts worshipped nature and believed in the spirit world. They worshipped over 300 gods. Their chief god was the sun and they celebrated two festivals revolving around the sun: Beltane, to mark the beginning of summer and Samhain or Saman to mark the start of winter.
The Celts believed that at the end of summer, Samhain, the lord of death becomes powerful and overpowers the sun god. On October 31, Samhain assembles all the evil spirits who had died the previous year and allows them to return home to visit the living.
On October 31, after the harvest, the druids would meet under an oak grove or near large stone circles where they performed sacrifices. Some believe that the Stonehenge in England is one such druid circle. The priests would light great fires and offer sacrifices to Samhain to ensure that the sun returned after the winter.
In 834 A.D., Pope Gregory III shifted the festival of All Saints Day, then celebrated on May 13 to November 1. The new day was called All Saints Day or Hallowmas.The Celtic concept of ghosts and witches became blended with Roman and later Christian customs. In Ireland and Britain, Halloween was also celebrated as Mischief Night when villagers were allowed to play pranks on each other.