We can thank Pope Gregory III for the term Halloween. It was he who designated 1st November as All Saints Day and the evening before as “All Hallows Eve”, later to be known as Halloween, although this was in turn based on an even earlier Celtic celebration that of Samhain. You have to credit the marketing genius of the early church in how to attract new converts, by embracing an existing pagan festival and giving it a Christian twist, I guess it’s a bit like sponsorship of the old “League Cup” previously the “Coca Cola” and now the “Carling Cup”
The Celts would celebrate their new year on 1 November, as it would signify the end of summer and the coming of winter and all that that would entail the darkness, the cold and ultimately death.
The Celts believed that on the evening before the New Year the boundary that separated the living from the dead became blurred and that spirits of the dead would return to the world of the living to cause trouble and mayhem, souring milk destroying crops and livestock.
It would also be a time of dressing up, of sacred bonfires and sacrifice and the Druids (Celtic Priests) would make prophesy predicting what would happen for the coming year (A bit like the Met office’s long term weather forecast and probably just as reliable).
Halloween in its modern form is really an American celebration with the mix of different ethnic groups and there celebrations amalgamating to form the holiday we see today. In the 1840’s dressing up in costumes and going from house to house asking for food or money became popular and it was believed that young women could predict who there future husbands will be by performing tricks with yarn and apple paring.
Today Halloween has lost most of its religious significance and is mainly a good excuse for a party and or to dress up, and not forgetting the obligatory knocking on neighbours doors with your small son or daughter dressed as a mini version of death and scarring the old lady at no 52 into a minor coronary. At the same time demanding vast amounts of sweets and sugary goodies that will keep the little darlings hyped up for days, although there is always one house in the street that gives out only high fibre Granola bars or dried fruit and tends to be avoided.
If you are looking for the perfect 'trick or treat' sweets to have at home or for a party, call into The Sweet Shop' Walsall and check out their range!
Small tubs just £3.25 or 2 tubs for £6!