There is no other season in the year where cobwebs are more welcome at any house or establishment than Halloween. Spooky stories and harrowing tales of ghosts and supernatural creatures take the spotlight. Scary pranks await unsuspecting people at every corner.
In the Philippines, traditions revolve around remembering our departed loved ones as we celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. People head to cemeteries and camp out with their families, building tents, and sharing food at their loved ones' graves. Much like Christmas, it is a holiday that calls for a reunion with relatives.
Through the years, western practices of Halloween costume parties and trick-or-treating have also been adopted by many Filipinos. Trick-or-treat activities are held at neighborhoods, offices, and establishments where children get dressed in a variety of costumes.
Like many traditions, Halloween has evolved through centuries of practice that tells a rich history worth sharing during this time of the year.
The Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced as “sah-win”) is said to be the origin of Halloween. The Celts, who used to inhabit several parts of Europe some 2,000 years ago, commemorated their new year on November 1 as summer and their harvest end. On its eve, October 31, Samhain is held.
During this time, as the cold winter starts to creep in, the Celts believed that the spirits of the dead make their way back to the living world.
ALL HALLOWS’ EVE
The term Halloween evolved from All Hallows’ Eve, also known as All Saints’ Day. This celebration started when martyrs were first honored in the 7th century before saints were included in the commemoration. In 1000 A.D., the Catholic Church then declared November 2 as All Souls’ Day to remember the dead.
All Souls’ Day celebration is said to resemble that of Samhain. And as the influence of Christianity spread throughout the Celtic region, and the dates of these events being so close to each other, it is believed that these festivals were later combined into the Halloween celebration we know now.
THE EVOLUTION OF A HOLIDAY
When a great number of Irish came to North America to avoid the famine in 19th century, they brought with them their Halloween customs, including wearing costumes and going house-to-house to ask for money or food.
Playing tricks on neighbors also became part of the tradition. But tricks got more serious and more dangerous as years pass that people were believed to give “bribes” or treats to children to spare them from any prank.
Warding off spirits may be one of the reasons that ancient people used to wear masks and costumes, but through time, wearing Halloween costumes has become a fun way for people to express their creativity while still getting the treats and rewards they so desire.
While Halloween may usually be associated with witches and other supernatural creatures, today, adults and children alike can go to a Halloween party dressed as butterfly fairy, a fireman, a pumpkin, or anyone and anything that they want to be.
Photographers: Oliver Tam and Frances Ulit
Art Director: Kevin Dexter Magno
Producer: Rhods Ogrimen
Stylists: Rhods Ogrimen, Allan Ayento, and Charlene Buriel
Makeup: Daisy Marie Fernandez
Hair: Marj Cabarrios
Models: Heavyne Columna and Gavin Chaddon