You probably know by now that the festival of Halloween has its origins in the Celtic celebration of Samhain – a marking of the Celtic new year.
But how did it become known as Halloween?
Well, the root word of Halloween is ”hallow” which means ”holy.” The suffix “een” is an abbreviation of “evening.”
It refers to the Eve of All Hallows, or, the night before the Christian holy day that honors saintly people of the past.
In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2nd All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead and pray for souls. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related church-sanctioned holiday.
All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils.
From the eleventh century it was celebrated from the 31st October until the 2nd of November.
First known as Hallowmas, it later changed to “All Hallow’s Eve” before finally becoming “Hallowe’en” in the 18th Century.