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When is Halloween and why do we celebrate it?


The origin of Halloween is super spooky (Picture: Getty Images)

Halloween is just days away, so naturally, children up and down the country are busy carving pumpkins and picking out their costumes.

Halloween will look pretty different this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Brits are still keen to get involved in the festivities, such as trick or treating.

Not many people are aware that the popular spooky season has a rather creepy origin.

Here is all you need to know about when Halloween is this year, and why we celebrate it.

When is Halloween in 2020?

Halloween is celebrated on October 31 every year – the last day of the month.

That means that Halloween is this Saturday.

Halloween is on Saturday, October 1, 2020 (Picture: Getty Images/Image Source)

Why do we celebrate Halloween?

Back in the Celtic days, one of the most important pagan celebrations was Samhain, or the Feast of the Dead.

The festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year, and occurred about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

It is often associated with death, as Celts believed that ghosts returned to the earth on this day.

To ward the evil ghosts and spirits away, people would build huge bonfires where they would gather to burn crops, sacrifice animals, and put on costumes.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III made November 1 a day to honour saints and martyrs.

Halloween was originally a pagan festival (Picture: Getty)

He made sure All Saints’ Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain, to keep peace with the pagans.

Samhain was renamed to All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually evolved to Halloween.

The US adopted the Halloween celebration when the Irish potato famine in 1846 led to mass migration to America.

People dressed up in costumes and knock their neighbour’s doors to ask for money or food, which, in time, transformed to modern day trick or treating.

The event grew to have massive popularity in the US, and eventually became the holiday we know today – a celebration of all the things that go bump in the night.

MORE: How to entertain your children safely this Halloween

MORE: Halloween quiz 2020 – try these trivia questions with your family this spooky season

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