Many people around the world celebrate Halloween, which occurs annually on October 31. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and is the day before All Saints’ Day. Costume parties are held and many children go trick-or-treating around this time of the year.
Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic harvest festival known as Samhain, which was the eve of the Celtic New Year. People paid tribute to Samhain, the lord of death, to honor the dying year and souls who were no longer among the living. It was believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was the thinnest on this night.
The sun god was also honored in thanksgiving for the harvest and a central part of the festival was lighting a bonfire, a reflection of the sun.This date later became known as All Hallows’ Eve during early Christian times and was a time to pray for the dead and honor the saints.
Many people participating in Halloween celebrations in modern times light candles in jack-o-lanterns rather than bonfires. Other elements of the Pagan celebration are retained, as Halloween is still a night to remember the spirits and other supernatural themes.
Halloween is an observance in many countries and not a public holiday. It is observed in countries such as United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.