Ward off evil spirits with a scary mask, for the spirits (both good and bad) may pass through the border from the “other” world tonight!
The word Halloween is a Scottish variant of All-Hallows-Eve – the night before All Hallows Day (or All Saint’s day).
Halloween is a time to carve pumpkins to make lanterns and go trick-or-treating. Children go from house to house dressed at witches and ghouls, asking for treats with the question, “Trick or treat?” The word “trick” refers to a (mostly idle) “threat” to perform mischief on the homeowners if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats.
The date is also linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, derived from an old Irish word meaning “summer’s end” and celebrating the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”. It is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”.
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the “Otherworld” became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. Ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.
All things spooky
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