It’s All Hallows’ Eve on Oct. 31

Published October 30, 2021, 9:49 AM

by Christina Hermoso

It is All Hallows’ Eve Sunday, Oct. 31.

(Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

More popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve is also known as All Saints’ Eve and Allhalloween.

Roman Catholics started observing All Hallows’ Eve as early as the 8th century after Pope Gregory III established Nov. 1 as All Saints’ Day and Oct. 31 as All Hallows’ Eve.

Liturgically, the Catholic Church celebrated the day as the Vigil of All Saints and until 1970, as a day of fasting and prayer.

The observance of Halloween was believed to have originated among the Celts in Ireland, Great Britain, and Northern France as the pagan Celtic harvest festival known as “Samhain” (end of summer), a pastoral and agricultural festival when the dead are believed to revisit the mortal world.

The Celts, who lived in the area more than 2,000 years ago, lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Irish immigrants introduced the tradition to North America during the 19th century with modifications to make it more child-friendly, and began to be celebrated in many countries during the late 20th century.

Celebrated as a big event in many countries such as the United States, Ireland, Great Britain, and Canada, Halloween has long been associated by many with the underworld and the wearing of scary costumes and masks.

In the country, Halloween, before the pandemic, was especially anticipated by many particularly children as it has been traditionally marked with parties and trick or treat activities for children. Children, mostly disguised as characters from the underworld, will make the rounds of commercial establishments like malls, restaurants, and hotels to ask for candies and other treats while chanting “trick or treat.” Homeowners also traditionally have candies ready for all the children, who will knock on their doors.

Among elders, a number of old superstitious beliefs will be observed such as avoiding crossing paths with a black cat, walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks on the streets, and spilling salt to avoid misfortunes and bad luck.

The Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls, which is present in several countries including the Philippines, has been actively promoting the proper observance of Halloween as a pre-All Saints’ Day celebration in parishes, dioceses, and schools through a campaign called ‘March of Saints.’ The campaign encourages children to dress up as saints and martyrs during parties and parades instead of donning scary costumes.

This activity, pre-pandemic, was actively observed in many parishes and schools around the country with the objective of helping children get acquainted with saints and martyrs.