Halloween, commonly referred to as “All Hallow’s Eve,” dates all the way back to a thousand years. And, always, the holiday has taken place on October 31st — the final day of the tenth month. So, if that’s how it’s always been, why are people suddenly working so incessantly to get the day moved to the final Saturday of the month?
When you hear the word “Halloween,” what usually comes to mind? Perhaps children dressed up as goblins and ghosts running from door to door and collecting candy? Or is it scary movies and haunted houses, the thrill that runs through your veins at the idea of knowing there is a scream around every corner? For the average person, this is usually what they immediately think of. For others, however, such as those who practice witchcraft and follow similar religious and spiritual paths, Halloween is muchmore.
A little over a year ago, a petition was created to change the day on which Halloween falls. The petition specifically points out the statistic of millennials who would rather have the holiday fall on a Saturday as opposed to “cram[ming] it into 2 rushed evening weekday hours.” Otherson social media have also voiced their support for the change, saying that the change would be more convenient for parents as they are then able to eliminate the hassle that comes from taking their children trick or treating on school nights then needing to hurriedly get them into bed and prepare them for the following school day.
Ever since the petition began gaining more attention, a number of people have showed their support for the change of date including well-known candy company, Snickers, who went as far as announcing that if the change is made, they will “give away 1 million free Snickers.”
And, while the deal may sound appealing to many people — who doesn’t want 1 million free chocolate bars? — going from door to door and collecting candy along the way aside, Halloween is a lot more than that.
Thetradition stems from Gaelic roots and was previously better known as Samhain [pronounced sow-wen]. Inspired by Celtic backgrounds and Pagan customs, Samhain was (and still is) acknowledged as being the final harvest. In other words, this is the time tobegin preparing for the start of winter and essentially, death, as with the brutally cold winter months comes wilting crops and the sudden abruptness of days cut short. Samhain celebrates change, cherishes the dead and focuses on taking the time to reflect on the past. Samhain is still widely celebrated today and is recognized as a time in which many practitioners of witchcraft take the time to hold rituals, reconnect with deceased loved ones, host dumb suppers, scry and engage in other forms of magick and divination.
Samhain has always been held on October 31 (some practitioners go as far as celebrating into the first of November), the phrase “All Hallow’s Eve” ultimately symbolizing the day in which the veil between the two worlds [ours and the spirit] is the thinnest, therefore acting as the most idealistic time to work and communicate with the dead. It is also the start of a three-day long observance in which those who have passed are honored and remembered.
Trick-or-treating on a Saturday has little to no effect as it would if children continued to collect candy from strangers on any other day of the week whereas, changing the date would impact practitioners of witchcraft much more significantly. And so, before you sign a petition that fails entirely to capture what Halloween is truly about, it is crucial to remember the origins of the holiday and how many people would essentially be stripped of a notable day that means more to them than simply donning emphasized costumes and making a quick stop at a haunted house.
Besides, if we should want to change anything about Halloween, it’s how shortly it lasts!
As posted on Affinity Magazine