Halloween - a holiday of vampires, witches, ghosts and other evil spirits - which until recently was widely celebrated in the United States is only now gaining popularity in Europe and gradually covers the countries of the former Soviet Union. What do we know about this festival, where it originates?
For thousands of years, in October, different people celebrate different holidays and festivals. Halloween - one of the oldest festivals in the world. Its history goes back millennia, from the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Roman Pomona Day (goddess of plants) and Christian "All Saints' Day." In a strange way it combines the Celtic tradition of celebration of evil spirits and Christian - worship of all the saints.
Today, the ancient pagan holiday were funny fascinating traditions. On the night of November 1, decided to dress up in costumes of evil spirits and to arrange masquerades. For these amusements forgotten the ancient meaning of Halloween - a holiday intriguing, mysterious and mythical significance.
Across Europe, the night marked the transition to winter. It was believed that at that time the soul of the dead visit their former homes to warm themselves by the fire. They wander around, collecting donations of food and drink at the rest of the family. The souls of the dead could take various guises - the evil dwell in animals. Along with them are other dark forces of demons, goblins, witches. All evil forces down to the ground. To avoid falling prey to the shadow of the dead, the people quenched hearths in the houses and can be dressed up as a frightening - in animal skins and heads, hoping to scare away evil spirits.
On this night, all the barriers between our and the "other" worlds are eliminated, and opens the gates between them. So Halloween - it is also an attempt to understand the relationship between our worlds and otherworldly. The night of Halloween - a transition from one gate to another world. The gate in the winter in a cold world where all living things die, but at the same time preparing for revival, getting rid of all the excess, as the trees of foliage.
In the night from October 31 to November 1, the Druids gather in oak groves on hilltops, lit bonfires and brought evil spirits sacrifices to appease them. It was believed that if the morning Kindle hearth coal from the fires, it will warm the house during the long winter and protect from evil spirits.
It was also a time predictions. Legend has it that on this night Samhain opens the door to the past and the future. This is the time when a person can realize his place in eternity. That said, the Druids, it was important life guidance on all winter long. On the night of November 1, is usually guessed. Of course, especially divination addicted girl. They tried to see her future husband, sitting in front of a mirror at midnight with an apple in his hand. The worst omen considered a fallen candle.
At the beginning of n. e. Romans occupied the majority of the Celtic lands. For 400 years they spent in the territories of the Celts, mix not only the population but also the tradition of Samhain merged with two Roman holiday - Feraliya (something like All Souls' Day), and the feast in honor of the goddess of fruit and trees, Pomona. Her symbol was an apple, and from there went hellouinskaya tradition to arrange games with apples.
Around the 8th century Christianity became the dominant religion, where before the Druids performed rituals. The Christian church made November 1 "All Saints Day". This is a celebration of the saints who do not have their special day. This day was supposed to celebrate the saints and martyrs. The people "Halloween» - All Saints' Day - called Allhallowmas (the mass of all Hallows), and the night before that day became known as All Hallows Eve - «Halloween." From here came the name of the holiday - Halloween.
Since then, the celebration of Halloween a pagan mysticism coexists with Christian. In 1000, the church announced on Nov. 2 "Day of All Souls." On this day it was supposed to commemorate not the saints and ordinary dead. Funeral arranged in the likeness of the festival of Samhain - with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes of angels and devils.
19th century immigrants from Ireland, "brought" Halloween in America, where he has developed and what we now call Halloween. Although the Irish have preserved elements of the beliefs of the Celts and Druids, but the US customs of different European nations mingled with Indian beliefs, and there was actually an American version of the holiday. During the first Halloween arranged performances, fortune telling and dance, celebrated the harvest, telling horror stories about spirits and ghosts.
At the end of the XIX century Halloween tried to turn it into a public holiday, and many superstitious features Halloween vanished into history. Holiday event began with a procession, city competitions and concerts, even though violent youth with its acts of vandalism hellouinskogo managed to subdue at once. With hooligans committed only to the 50 th year, giving the children a holiday and reviving caroling. Since then, and go home mummers. And the most favorite autumn festival Americans became extremely popular. However, the link between ancient paganism and modern traditions and costumes of Halloween easily follow. Even today Halloween - not just a night when children dressed in different costumes, collect candy.
Ancient myths will be continued in pop culture, symbolism and modern traditions. On the night of Halloween people visit the neighboring houses, which symbolizes the dead in search of food. The masks of demons and goblins are evil spirits. Those who hands out sweets, are people who try to appease evil spirits.
An essential symbol of Halloween - the pumpkin head. From the inside of the pumpkin is removed, cut face and inserted into a candle. Pumpkin symbolizes both the end of the harvest, the evil spirit and fire, it daunting. Since ancient beliefs are concentrated in a single subject.
In fact, the origin of the traditional halloween with candle inside is quite debatable. Although it can be attributed to the Roman harvest festival, wandering lights, and pumpkin with a candle inside, one of the legends are wandering souls who are stuck between heaven and hell. Others believe that the Druids put a pumpkin to scare away those from the house of evil spirits.
According to the old calendar Druid new year in Britain begins on November 1 and on the eve of October 31, you need to get rid of all the evil spirits that come out in the night into the light. For this and is preparing a special flashlight. It is usually made of pumpkin, but can be made from a turnip or a large melon.
There is another legend that the true source of the origin of this tradition is a drunk named Jack, has concluded a deal with the devil.