It’s that time of the year when we get to dress up as our favourite spooky character and parade around town. Witches, wizards, dracula or my personal favourite ‘The Adams Family’! You name it and there will be somebody flaunting that costume. Most of you may not know the purpose behind this holiday so let’s start by going down memory lane.
Halloween literally translates to “All Hallow’s Eve” meaning the day of the hallowed beings or saints. 1st November is celebrated as All Saints Day worldwide by Catholics. Hence, 31st October is the eve of “All Saints Day” i.e Halloween. Legend says that the spirits would come out on 31st October and stay on earth until midnight of 2nd November. These three days in the year is when mortals can connect with the afterlife. 2nd November is celebrated as “All Souls Day” and marks the last day of Halloween which is when the spirits return to where they came from.
It is said that the spirits would play tricks on the frightened humans and gain entertainment. So you could avoid the tricks by treating them with goodies like candy, chocolates or fruits. The villagers would dress up as witches and wizards to pretend to be one with the spirits to avoid the tricks played by them. This was tradition in the early centuries across all Christian countries.
Over the years, with the orthodox thinking vanishing and modern thinking coming into play, this tradition was slowly dying. However, grandmother tales kept on fascinating each generation year after year and it went on to become the second most commercial holiday across Europe, UK and The United States. Today, even though there is no belief in the afterlife connecting with mortals, it is still celebrated widely. Costumes, candy and little children playing tricks on you if you fail to treat them with candy turns out to be the highlight of the week.
Coming to celebrations in India, the youth here are more than happy to celebrate anything that is celebrated globally. India has an unending list of festivals but at the end of the day we are always up for more! Be it Valentine’s Day, International Labour Day or Chinese New Year where we release those lovely Chinese lanterns with our loved ones. Celebrations in Mumbai during Halloween have picked up over the last 5 years. Halloween themed music festivals, food festivals, dessert crawls, house parties and clubs/pubs/restaurants give the city a full filled, spooky weekend making it a profitable week for all commercial establishments.
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