"Trick or treat?" To whom has not happened during the Halloween party to hear this sentence at least once, or to decorate your home with scary decorations or to wear grotesque masks? Halloween is now a heartfelt party, but where do these traditions come from? Perhaps not everyone knows that the Halloween party is not born in America, but has ancient origins that can be traced back to Ireland at the time of the Celts. For them the new year began on November 1st with the transition from summer to winter and was celebrated with long celebrations, the "Samhain".
With the advent of Christianity this festival took on a different meaning where death was the main theme, in tune with what was happening in nature. From here it is understandable the combination of Samhain to the cult of the dead. The Celts believed that on the eve of each new year, October 31, the afterlife merged with the world of the living allowing spirits to wander undisturbed on Earth. Samhain was therefore a celebration that combined the fear of death and spirits with the joy of celebrating the end of the old year. During the night of October 31 rallies were held in the woods for the ceremony of lighting the Sacred Fire and animal sacrifices were carried out where the Celts were present covering their faces with grotesque masks. In Ireland it was common to light torches and torches outside the doors and to leave food for the souls of the dead who would visit their families, so that they would decide not to play tricks on the living. The Irish also, for the occasion, emptied a large turnip and engraved it with the face of a demon and then lit it from the inside with a candle to protect their home.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Ireland was ravaged by a severe famine, so many people decided to move to the United States and seek their fortune. The Irish community kept the customs of their homeland alive as the celebration of Halloween, spreading the tradition throughout the American population and making it soon a national holiday. Unlike Ireland in the United States they did not find turnips and therefore used the pumpkins thus creating the most famous symbol of this festival.
From the United States, Halloween has conquered the whole world, becoming the protagonist of films, books and events. Its celebration has lost its religious meaning, becoming an opportunity for children to enjoy themselves, but also for adults.