People are already beginning to talk about Halloween, a festivity that seems more representative of countries like the United States or Canada. Well, today I suggest you forget that first impression when you hear talk about Halloween and discover what really lies behind this celebration.
Halloween actually means ‘All Saints Eve’ and its origins go back to the tradition of Samhain (summer’s end), a feast celebrated by the ancient Celts at the end of the month of October to commemorate the end of the harvest.
The Celts believed that the veil between the world of mortals and that of spirits became thinner with the advent of Samhain, allowing spirits to pass through. That is why people hid behind masks and costumes to adopt the appearance of evil spirits and so avoid being hurt. Also, it was customary to leave food and sweets outside the house to help souls find their way back to their own world.
This festivity is now known as Halloween night, where the age-old traditions of masks and sweets now take the form of children going door to door uttering the famous phrase “Trick or Treat”.
In Asturias, this festival consisted among other things of emptying out pumpkins and placing candles inside them to light the roads. Water and food were left around the house so that the spirits, accompanied by the Güestia or “Holy Company”, would find rest there.
Some of these traditions were subsequently banned by the Catholic Church and, although the celebration of All Saints Day is more deeply rooted in Spain, the eve of that day also gradually began to be celebrated with parties, costumes and pumpkins.
If you fancy unearthing your Celtic roots, you can attend the party Gijón Aquarium will be holding on the night of the 1st or visit the Botanical Gardens to join in their now famous Pumpkins and Skulls events.
We wish you a Happy Halloween!