Halloween – All Hallows Eve – The Meaning of Halloween
All Hallows Eve is the time we love to dress up as ghosts and ghouls and the children go from door to door in their Halloween costumes saying “Trick or Treat” in the hope of a tasty reward.
Ever wondered why we do this every Halloween and where it all started?
It is generally accepted that Halloween has it’s foundations in the UK and from there spread to the US where it is nowadays embraced the most.
The word Halloween is simply a shortened word for All Hallows Eve. November 1st is All Hallows Day or AllSaints Day to give it it’s other name. Hallow is an old word meaning Saint or Holy person.
All Hallows Day – All Saints Day
On November 1st the Roman Catholic church honours the memory of all the great men and saints that have lived and died. This day is called All Saints Day or All Hallows Day.
On November 2nd the church honours and remembers the souls of all the ordinary folk who have died. This day is called All Souls Day.
Some folk believed that on All Saints Night the Saints would rise up and crush all evil spirits. Therefore, it followed, that on All Hallows Eve or Halloween as we call it today, the evil spirits would come out for a final fling and wreak havoc whilst they still could.
Some folk believed that on All Souls Night the ordinary dead would return to their homes for a visit and so they would leave candles outside their doors to light their way and some would also leave out food and drink for them.
November 1st and 2nd were collectively known as Hallowtide.
In olden times it was customary on All Souls Day for poor christians to say prayers for the dead of the wealthy for reward – usually in the form of money or food. The food usually given was soul cakes.
The poor children would go “Souling”. They would go from door to door singing for reward – again usually Soul Cakes.