by Anthony Geraci, News Editor
Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me your soul? Contrary to popular belief,
the tradition of Halloween was originated as All Saints Day, not some satanic
ritual. For nearly 2,000 years, the tradition has been going on. The ancient
Celtic Druid priests believed this day to be the end of the year: in essence,
celebrating New Year's eve.
The Druids already had a special holiday on October 31, Samhain, the celebration of the dead. This holiday lasted from October 31 until November 2. During this time, the Celtics believed that there was no actual time. During this time of no time, the druids would try to make contact with the deceased. The days were filled with pure mayhem; havoc was being caused all throughout the streets. Men dressed as women and vice-versa, creating the costume effect. Also, vandalism was also just as popular back then. Children would play tricks on neighbors and destroy neighboring farms. The sense of evil came into play during the Druid rituals. The Druids didn't focus on conjuring up the dead; they focused on just making contact with them. These rituals were to honor the dead (i.e. All Saints Day).
Has trick-or-treating been an authentic tradition along with Halloween? The answer is not easy to come by. Each culture has its own origin of Halloween and with each it's own idea of trick-or-treating. The coined term actually didn't come to be in America until 1939! Much of the idea of trick-or-treating can be traced back to Scottish and Irish immigrants. Throughout the ages, children have been an important contributing factor in the Halloween festivities. During the holiday children would roam from house to house asking for so called "soul cakes." Vandalism, as it is readily seen today, was also just as easy to come by back then. So for all you delinquents out there with a roll of toilet paper in your book bag along with a carton of eggs, there's hope for you yet. When caught, just explain to the police that you are following an old tradition. (Not that the Whirlwind condones vandalism: just some good, old information for you !!)
If Halloween's not evil, then what's with all the satanic symbols? 1. Jack-O-Lantern. Brought over by Irish Immigrants, they were just meant to light the way; the shapes and ghoulish figures didn't appear until they were Americanized. 2. Skeletons. During Samhein, animal herds were killed in order to save space and money. The excess animals were then left to rot, as a result, creating skeletons. 3. Witches and Black Cats. Witches were deemed evil by the medieval church. They all were mostly just herbalists or fortunetellers; most of the witches were harmless by any means. Cats, on the other hand, were so feared that tens of thousands were killed.
All in all, the holiday had legitimate meaning and moralistic qualities. It wasn't until Americans got to it that we added the negative connotation of evil. We're just doing what we do best...taking a great tradition, conforming it to our liking, and then beating it to death with violence and tricks.