All Hallows’ Eve

Halloween is right around the corner – actually, it isn’t, but the days go by fast for parents and it’ll sneak up on us in no time. If it’s your kid’s first Halloween – or their seventh – they’ll probably end up asking questions, and you’ll need an explanation for everything. Luckily, my wife contacted a professional seo company and did the research and I’m here to relay the information I’ve learned.

 

It's that time of year once again, Halloween u...
It’s that time of year once again, Halloween ushers in the best holiday of the Holiday season! Taken at La Mesa Oktoberfest in 2007 but still relevant every Halloween. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What is Halloween?” “A holiday!” just isn’t a sufficient response for kids. It isn’t – they’ll ask “whys” and “whats” faster than you can come up with answers. It’s important to take note of the history, origins, and reasoning behind some of the traditions of Halloween – it’s a fun celebration for kids and they should know why they’re doing it and how it came to be.

 

So how do you come up with explaining to your kids what Halloween is? Be open, be honest, and be readyfor questions. Trust me, you’ll get them, and they will most likely be “why” and “what”.

 

Halloween is celebrated October 31st. Explain the origins, first and foremost. Although the major traditions are based on medieval Christianity, the complete backstory is rooted in Samhain (pronounced sah-win), an old Irish festival. This festival honored the dead and beginnings of Winter. It also marked the start of a new year based on the ancient Celtic calendar. Early Pagan times generally aren’t mentioned by Halloween celebrations, but it’s important to be honest with your kids!

 

When Christianity grew in Europe in the ninth century, November 1st became All Saints Day and this mass was known as Allhallowmas. The night before it? All Hallows’ Eve, or All Hallows’ Evening, which was later shortened to Halloween. Christianity wanted a way to celebrate the living and the dead, the saints specifically.

 

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Christians went door to door for ‘soul cakes’ and offered prayer for the giver’s soul. This is where trick-or-treating came from; give me something and get blessed for it! Of course, cakes aren’t easy to put in a candy basket, so we decided to put smaller treats in over time.

 

Costumes originated from the belief that spirits would re-enter the world and possess the living, on this very night. Somehow, the people afraid of this would wear ghoul and ghost costumes to defend themselves from the encounter of an actual terror.

 

Tell your kids about jack-o’-lanterns. These used to be turnips and, according to folklore, a man named Jack tricked Satan, and was between Heaven and Hell when he died. So he walked in darkness with a single coal to light his path, hence the candles in pumpkins.

 

Similarities around the world are celebrated: Mexico’s Day of the Dead, Sicily’s Festival of the Dead, and England’s Guy Fawkes Day. Incorporate multiple traditions to teach your kid more about history and culture.

 

Make sure to have stories full of history and culture for your Halloween education. Of course, this may cause your kid to scream “I’m possessed!” at guests or houses they trick-or-treat at. You should probably make sure they understand that history is in the past for a reason, and stick to acting out their costume 🙂

 

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