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Halloween Day: History, Significance, and Celebrations

Published Date: 29-Sep-2023

Halloween Day is celebrated to mark the eve of the Christian Feast of All Saints. It is celebrated on 31st October every year to honour the saints of the church. The preparations for Halloween 2024 have already started all over the globe. People wear spooky costumes, carve pumpkins, and ask for trick-or-treats to celebrate this fun festival.

Halloween Day Information:

Halloween 2024 date and day 31 October, Thursday
All Saints Day 2024 date 1 November, Friday
Other Names All Hallows’ Day and All Saints’ Day

Why is Halloween Celebrated?

Halloween is celebrated to honour and tribute saints of the church. According to the legends, the Celtics used to celebrate a festival named Samhain, which marked the end of the summer and the beginning of cold winter days which was associated with decay and death at that time. To avoid this, people pray to protect them from the evil spirits around the bonfires.

Why is Halloween Celebrated on October 31?

According to the Celtic beliefs, this day marks the end of summer and the start of the dark times. On 31st October the boundary line between the world of the dead and the living gets blurred. The belief is that the ghosts of the deceased returned to the world on the night of October 31st.

What is the History of Halloween?

The origin of Halloween dates back to 2,000 years ago when Celtic who lived in the United Kingdom, North France, and Ireland used to celebrate their festival called Samhain. In the festival, they used to celebrate the end of summer and the harvest season.

How Halloween Came to America?

Immigrants, prominently from Ireland, brought their traditions of Halloween with them to America in the 1800s with all the traditions of costumes, food exchanging rituals, and bonfires.

All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day is celebrated to honour all saints of the church deemed to have attained heaven. People remember the saints and the martyrs on this day. It is celebrated the next day after Halloween.

The word hallow in Halloween is derived from the Middle and Old English words for holy. During that time All Saints’ Day was known as All Hallows’ Day. A day before All Hallows’ Day, when an evening mass was held, was All Hallows’ Eve. This name eventually got shortened to Halloween.

Why do People Carve Pumpkins on Halloween?

People make ‘Jack-o’-Lanterns’ by carving pumpkins to scare the evil spirits away. When immigrants from Europe came to America, they discovered pumpkins for the first time during the harvests during September-October and used them as a lantern to scare the ghosts.

The history of Halloween’s ‘Jack-o’-Lanterns’ comes from an Irish myth about Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil for his own gain. When Jack died the Devil didn’t let him into hell, so Jack was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. In Ireland, people started to carve demonic faces out of turnips and Halloween pumpkins to frighten Jack’s wandering soul.

How to Celebrate Halloween?

The celebration of Halloween is considered to be fun and joyous, especially for children. People do different things in the spirit of Halloween like:

1. Symbols

People use themes of death, evil, and mythical monsters as symbols during Halloween. Witches and black cats are also common symbols of Halloween.

2. Trick-or-treating

The custom of trick-or-treating is also very famous among children as they go door to door and people share food and candies with the kids. Children sing Halloween songs at the door of every home and in return, they get the candies from people.

3. Costumes

The most popular tradition is to dress up in fun Halloween costumes of ghosts or characters from movies, TV shows, books, etc. Some of the most famous costumes are vampires, witches, skeletons, ghosts, and devils.

4. Halloween Parties

Haunted themes are used in organizing a Halloween party where people come in costumes and enjoy the festive foods and drinks. Haunted houses are also a popular attraction during Halloween.

5. Games and other Activities

People enjoy the traditional Halloween games and decorate their houses with Halloween decorations like pumpkin lanterns. Bonfire and listening to Halloween music is also a popular tradition during Halloween.

6. Halloween Movies

Watching horror movies is a common tradition during Halloween. People watch movies or TV shows at their homes or at public screens. The Exorcist: Believer, Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2023), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Monster House (2006), and Black Phone (2021) are some of the most popular Halloween movies of all time.

7. Food

Traditional food is cooked during Halloween and most of them are haunted-themed or shaped foods using Halloween colors like black and orange. Famous dishes are pumpkin pie, caramel apple, pumpkin bread, cookies, bloody mary, caramel corn, milk duds etc.

Religion-wise Observances

Halloween is celebrated in the whole world with joy and their unique cultures and traditions. Some of the observances of different religions are:

  • Christian: Some of the Christians ring church bells to remind people about the dead on the eve of Halloween. In some regions of Ireland, people have declared it a meat-free day and serve sweets and pie. Some worshippers prepare themselves for the grand feast by praying and fasting.
  • Judaism: In Judaism, Halloween is not permitted due to their religious beliefs. However, some Jews celebrate the festival according to their regional traditions.
  • Islam: Muslim scholars have stated that people who believe in Islam should not participate in Halloween as it is against their beliefs and culture.
  • Hinduism: Hindus celebrate the festival Pitru Paksha to remember the dead and to pay homage to them. Some Hindus also participate in Halloween and celebrate it with joy. They attend theme-based parties, watch movies, and also attend costume competitions.
  • Neopaganism: Neopagans do not observe the festival of Halloween due to their religious beliefs. However, some people who follow Neopaganism celebrate the origin festival of Halloween called Samhain. It is similar to Halloween’s culture and tradition where people remember the departed souls.

How Halloween In India Is Becoming Increasingly Popular?

People in India have started celebrating Halloween in the past few years. It can be due to the influence of Western culture through people, movies, and social media. This festival attracts kids due to the spooky costumes, makeup, and candies. However, people do not follow the trick-or-treating ritual in India as all the people do not celebrate Halloween.

People in India have always welcomed Western culture and traditions with open arms. People in India have always witnessed the festival of Halloween in cartoons, TV shows and movies as they were growing up. For Indians, this festival is not observed as a tribute to the departed souls, instead, people celebrate it as a fun festival where they dress up and attend the Halloween theme parties.

Indians also celebrate a festival to remember the departed souls named Pitra Paksha in the month of September-October. People worship and perform rituals in remembrance of their ancestors.

Other Festivals in India with Holiday Type

Festivals in India Day Date Holiday Type
New Year’s Day Mon 01-Jan Restricted Holiday
Lohri Sat 13-Jan Restricted Holiday
Makar Sankranti Sun 14-Jan Restricted Holiday
Pongal Mon 15-Jan Restricted Holiday
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Wed 17-Jan Restricted Holiday
Republic Day Fri 26-Jan Gazetted Holiday
Losar Sat 10-Feb Restricted Holiday
Basant Panchmi Wed 14-Feb Restricted Holiday
Guru Ravidas Jayanti Sat 24-Feb Gazetted Holiday
Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Wed 6-Mar Restricted Holiday
Mahashivratri Fri 8-Mar Gazetted Holiday
Holi Mon 25-March Gazetted Holiday
Good Friday Fri 29-Mar Gazetted Holiday
Easter Day Sun 31-Mar Restricted Holiday
Gudi Padwa Tue 9-Apr Restricted Holiday
Eid-ul-Fitr Wed 10-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Vaisakhi (Vishu) Sat 13-Apr Restricted Holiday
Rama Navami Wed 17-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Mahavir Jayanti Sun 21-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Rabindra Jayanti Wed 8-May Restricted Holiday
Buddha Purnima (Vesak) Thu 23-May Gazetted Holiday
Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid) Mon 17-Jun Restricted Holiday
Rath Yatra Sun 7-Jul Gazetted Holiday
Muharram (Ashura) Wed 17-Jul Gazetted Holiday
Independence Day Thu 15-Aug Gazetted Holiday
Parsi New Year’s Day (Nauraz) Thu 15-Aug Public Holiday
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Mon 19-Aug Restricted Holiday
Janmashtami Mon 26-Aug Restricted Holiday
Ganesh Chaturthi Sat 7-Sep Restricted Holiday
Onam Sun 15-Sep Restricted Holiday
Milad-un-Nabi or Id-e- Milad Mon 16-Sep Gazetted Holiday
Gandhi Jayanti Wed 02-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Dussehra Sat 12-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Valmiki Jayanti Thu 17-Oct Restricted Holiday
Karva Chauth Sun 20-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Dhanteras Tue 29-Oct Restricted Holiday
Diwali Thu 31-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Kali Puja Thu 31-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Lakshmi Puja Thu 31-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Halloween Day Thu 31-Oct No Holiday
Karnataka Rajyotsava Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Kerala Piravi Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Govardhan Puja Sat 2-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Bhai Dooj Sun 3-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Chhath Puja Thu 7-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Guru Nanak Jayanti Fri 15-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Christmas Wed 25-Dec Public Holiday


Q. Is Halloween gaining popularity?

A. Yes, Halloween is gaining popularity globally with the help of social media. People from across the world are now participating in the festival.

Q. Is Halloween a Pagan holiday or a Christian holiday?

A. Halloween holiday is celebrated mostly by Christians and it is similar to the ancient Pagan holiday called Samhain.

Q. Who Celebrated Halloween First?

A. The Halloween background dates back to around 2,000 years ago when the Celtics celebrated the festival called Samhain which is similar to Halloween.

Q. Why is Halloween scary?

A. This festival is also called Halloween Horror Nights because people believe that the boundary line between the world of the dead and the living gets blurred and the dead people’s spirits can get back to the earth.

Q. Who celebrates Halloween?

A. Mainly Christians celebrate Halloween but nowadays, people from all over the world are participating in this festival. People wear Halloween themed costumes and wish each other by saying Happy Halloween.

Manthan is a witty and versatile content writer with an insatiable wanderlust. When not crafting captivating words, he can be found globetrotting, penning travel tales, indulging in physical workouts or sports, grooving to music, and showering love on furry friends. His life is a canvas painted with the colors of adventure, and each stroke tells a story worth sharing, encapsulating the essence of a true modern-day Renaissance soul.
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