Halloween in Canada occurs every year on October 31. Sometimes referred to as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, Canada celebrates Halloween just like so many other countries. Why October 31 was chosen as the date for Halloween is because this is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. This Western Christian tradition begins with three days of observance known as Allhallowtide. This time is dedicated every year to remembering those who have deceased, including saints, martyrs, and any of the departed.
As we know it today, where Halloween came from is not known though there are many theories on the subject. Some believe it to have originated from Celtic harvest festivals while others believe there to have pagan roots or Christian roots. As the decades passed, particularly in the last 100 years, Halloween became increasingly commercialized and secular as so many other holidays have. Now, today’s celebrations of Halloween range from kids and families going out trick or treating to giving out candy, carving pumpkins and making jack-o-lanters, throwing Halloween costume parties, having bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted houses, and more.
The term ‘Halloween’ is derived from Christian origin with first known use in the early 1700s. It’s rather ironic that Halloween originally meant a ‘holy evening’. Though not in Canada, in many parts of the world, Halloween still holds traditional meaning. Some countries still have religious observances of some of the original Halloween traditions, having church services, lighting candles on the graves of the departed, and more. There are also some societies who abstain from meat, an act that was a Christian tradition long ago, eating things like apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.
A lot of the Halloween customs that we consider to be classic Halloween are a mix of corporate, commercial influence and folk customs. A lot of the folk Celtic traditions of Canada’s version of Halloween, for example, come from Ireland and associations with Christianity. Though there’s a lot to debunk and explore in the origins of Halloween, that’s how we celebrate it here in Canada. If this is your first Halloween in Canada, you’re in for quite the treat. It’s one of the most fun days of the year where almost anything can happen.
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