Halloween, the enchanting time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is said to be at its thinnest, has captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the world for centuries. In this blog post, I will take a look at the rich history of Halloween, and how it is celebrated around the world. Finally, you will get the first look at the new limited edition range of seasonal products now available online at Daisy Chain Gifts that will make your Halloween extra special.
The History of Halloween
The origin's of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced SAH-win), celebrated on October 31st. This festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, a time often associated with death, most likely due to the scarcity of food and cold weather hardships endured during winter. People believed that on Samhain, the boundary between the living and the dead blurred, allowing spirits to pass through and roam the earth. People lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off malevolent spirits, a tradition that would eventually evolve into our modern-day festivities.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor saints. Soon after, All Saints Day came to incorporate some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows Eve, and later, Halloween.
Pumpkin Lanterns - The tradition of carving Jack-O'-Lanterns actually originated in Ireland using turnips instead of pumpkins. Legend has it that a man named Stingy Jack repeatedly trapped the Devil and only let him go on the condition that Jack would never go to Hell. When Jack eventually died, he learned that Heaven did not want his soul either, so he was forced to wander the Earth as a ghost for eternity. The Devil gave Jack a burning lump of coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. Locals eventually began carving scary faces into their own turnips to frighten away evil spirits.
Trick-or-Treat - There is much debate around the origins of trick-or-treating, but generally there are three theories. The first, and most popular, suggests that during Samhain, Celtic people would leave food out to appease the spirits wandering the earth. Over time, people dressed in costume also wandered their neighborhoods in exchange for similar offerings of food and drink.
The second theory speculates that the candy boon stems from the Scottish practice of guising, which is a secular version of “souling.” During the Middle Ages, generally children and poor adults would collect food and money from local homes in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). Guisers dropped the prayers in favor of non-religious practices with the inclusion of songs, jokes, and other “tricks.”
A third theory argues that modern American trick-or-treating stems from “belsnickeling,” a German-American Christmas tradition where children would dress in costume and then call on their neighbors to see if the adults could guess the identities of the disguised. In one version of the practice, the children were rewarded with food or other treats if no one could identify them.
Lighting Bonfires - For much of the early history of Halloween, large bonfires were used to light the way for souls seeking the afterlife. These days, lighting candles have generally replaced the large traditional blazes.
Halloween Around the World
Mexico - Dia de los Muertos
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead, is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd, and honors deceased loved ones. Families create alters with offerings, sugar skulls and marigold flowers to guide spirits back to the living world.
Japan - Obon
In August, Japan celebrates Obon, a festival to honor ancestral spirits. Families light lanterns and dance in the streets, welcoming the spirits back home.
United Kingdom - Halloween
In the U.K. most of the Halloween traditions are similar to the U.S. Children (and adults) dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating. Nowadays, most people put out lots of candy for the "ghostly" visitors, but the holiday is also associated with good-natured mischief - the Trick. When Irish and Scottish immigrants came to America, they brought with them the tradition of celebrating Mischief Night, which became part of Halloween. Mischief night is still celebrated in the U.K. but it actually falls on November 4th.
Whether you choose to dress up, carve pumpkins, or watch a horror movie marathon, Daisy Chain Gifts has conjured up bewitching collection of Halloween-themed products to add a touch of magic to your celebrations. Here's some of the eerie offerings:
Halloween Bath Salts - Immerse yourself in a cauldron of relaxation with 8oz jars of bath salts available in four fragrances: Bone Dust, Witches Brew, Potions & Poisons and Zombie Repellent.
Coffin Gift Set - Unearth a coffin-shaped box containing a soap skeleton scented with a rich pumpkin lager fragrance oil. A sweet treat for your skin and senses and a fun sink-side novelty.
Eyeball Bath Bombs - Make your bath time delightfully creepy with our fun 4oz bath bombs featuring a ghastly eyeball design! Fizzes and foams to perfection!
Spooky Soap - May we present our cute ghost-shaped guest soaps scented with soothing lavender, or our tombstone soap with invigorating peppermint. These spook-tacular soaps will elevate your daily cleansing ritual.
If you're looking to infuse your Halloween season with a touch of luxury, our limited edition products promise to make spooky season truly enchanting! Check out our online shop for details.
And remember, as Halloween approaches, its not just a night for costumes and candy, it's a celebration steeped in history and tradition, and embraced by diverse cultures all around the world. However you celebrate, embrace the traditions, explore the customs, and maybe treat yourself to a creepy bath bomb eye ball or two!