Halloween has its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. 1st November was considered the end of the summer period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. It was also a time when the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes. People set bonfires on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits and for relighting their hearth fires for the winter, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. It was in these ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be associated with the day.
In the 7th century AD, Pope Boniface IV established All Saints’ Day, originally on May 13, and in the following century, perhaps in an effort to supplant the pagan holiday with a Christian observance; it was moved to 1st November. The evening before All Saints’ Day became a holy, or hallowed, eve and thus Halloween. By the end of the Middle Ages, the secular and the sacred days had merged.
The celebration of Halloween was largely forbidden among the early American colonists along with other festivities, although in the 1800s there developed festivals that marked the harvest and incorporated elements of Halloween. In the mid 19th century beginning when large numbers of immigrants, including the Irish, went to the United States, they took their Halloween customs with them, and in the 20th century Halloween became one of the principal U.S. holidays, particularly among children.
As a secular holiday, Halloween has come to be associated with a number of activities. One is the practice of pulling usually harmless pranks. Celebrants wear masks and costumes for parties and for trick-or-treating, thought to have derived from the British practice of allowing the poor to beg for food, called “soul cakes.” Trick-or-treaters go from house to house with the threat that they will pull a trick if they do not receive a treat, usually candy. Halloween parties often include games such as bobbing for apples, perhaps derived from the Roman celebration of Pomona. Along with skeletons and black cats, the holiday has incorporated scary beings such as ghosts, witches, and vampires into the celebration. Another symbol is the jack-o’-lantern, a hollowed-out pumpkin, originally a turnip, carved into a demonic face and lit with a candle inside.
You can celebrate the fun, frolic and spookiness of Halloween with a twist this year. Surprise your family and friends by sending them stylish Halloween posies or delectable hampers full of assorted goodies. While the traditional trick-or-treating, jack-o-lantern carving, apple bobbing and spooky storytelling go on, add a whiff of fresh air to the Halloween merriment with spirited ensembles. Send vibrant Halloween flowers to your loved ones and celebrate Halloween with great fervor and gusto.
Halloween will be celebrated on 31st October, 2012 across the world.