Halloween is an ancient, celtic, pre-christian New Year’s Celebration that over the last couple of thousand years lost its pagan context and has transformed into one of the largest secular holidays of modern times.
The earliest Halloween celebrations were held by the Druids in honour of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. The Pagan Druid priests believed that on the last night of the year October 31st, the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead was at its thinest. This meant that the dead could hang out with the living, not cool! It was believed that these spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits in hopes that this would confuse the dead. They would also try to appease the dead with offerings of food and nuts. They would leave little treats that the household had to offer, to satisfy the hunger of these spirits. If they were satisfied with the treat, it was believed it would not trick the person or cast an evil spell. Therein lies the origin of the present day trick or treat.
During the most celebrated festival of the year, Samhain, it was believed that the “Lord of Death” gathered all the souls of those that had passed during that year to take them to Druid Heaven. To help the souls get there, the living people would light fires to help them along their journey and to also keep them away from the living.
Christian missionaries showed up and tried to change the Pagan celebration of Samhain by telling them that all the spirits they are worshiping are scary, evil and demonic. Than they created All – Saints day on November 1st as the new celebration. The idea being to celebrate the Saints rather than worship the dead during Samhain. Alas this did not work and people continued to celebrate Samhain as the time of the wondering dead.
Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween is now celebrated in a range of other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.
Through the ages, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — have come to be associated with Halloween. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialized (and with the arrival of mass-manufactured costumes), the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians.
Join the Old Mill Toronto on October 31st to celebrate Halloween. Pump up the volume and boogie down in the historical Old Mill Dining Room to the spooky ghoulishness of monster hits by DJ Ian!
Get those creative juices flowing! Prizes will be given for best costume, funniest costume and most creative. Although costumes are encouraged feel free to come as you like and join the party.