October 31st is the line that divides fall from winter, plenty from paucity… life and death.
Halloween is a celebration that has its origins from the Celts, who celebrated their new year on November 1st. The last day of the year, October 31st known as the night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, signaled “the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter” This period of scarcity was often associated with human death.
According to History.com, “Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.”
Christianity spread over Celtic lands around the 9th century (just as happen in Mexico with Catholicism when Spaniards conquer the territory in the 16th century) resulting in a blend of both traditions. The Catholic All Saints Day celebration on November 1st was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas. In an effort to Christianize the Celtic Samhain of October 31st “it began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.”
In conclusion, Halloween is the All Saints Day Eve, which happens prior to the All Souls Day or Day of the Dead.
Halloween Vocabulary Activities for Spanish Class
Check out our Halloween vocabulary activities mega pack for Spanish teachers here:
Suggested readings on the Day of the Dead and Halloween
1. Indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead from Unesco.org. Includes a slide show and a 3-minute video.
2. La Catrina: Meet the Legend from Xico Arte y Cultura
3. Day of the Dead history: Indigenous people wouldn’t let ‘Day of the Dead’ die from AZCentral.com
5. Make yourself a Day of the Dead skull (just like the image above) with PicMonkey.
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