Halloween is, flat out, one of my favourite holidays. What’s not to like? Candy, costumes and an excuse for a party! If you weren’t here last year, you’ll have missed GGU’s excellent Halloween celebration down in the Plaza level and guess what? Thanks to the SGA it’s all happening again this year! In case you haven’t heard yet, it’ll take place on Thursday, October 31st from 5-8.30pm in the student lounge at Plaza Level. Come dressed in your favourite Halloween costume, but be ready for some stiff competition. Last year, everyone outdid themselves with some awesome outfits and this time around we’re hoping to go one better…..
So what, exactly, are we celebrating? Some history stuff: Hallowe’en is short for All Hallows’ Eve, a Scottish term for Saints’ evening. The customs which we now see in the familiar decorations and costumes have evolved from the folk customs of Celtic-speaking countries such as Scotland and Ireland. Some historians believe Samhain, the Pagan festival celebrating the end of summer, may have heavily influenced the traditions that we see now. But why all the ghosts and ghouls? Well, the Pagans believed that the end of summer meant the ‘darker’ half of the year (ie winter) was approaching and this darkness marked a thinning of the boundaries between our world and the supernatural, thus making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to cross over. They could be appeased through food and drink, often followed by partying. This tradition is commonplace is many cultures, for example the Danse Macabre in France and Dia de Los Muertos in America.
And what about today? Well, you can see for yourselves how Halloween has taken off in the United States and beyond. The largest Halloween parade is in Greenwich Village, New York, but maybe you have some traditions in your town or country that you’d like to share with the rest of school! For me, it’s the little Central Coast town of Cambria. Every Halloween, the entire town is filled with costumed scarecrows inspired by movies, books, folklore etc. If you’re headed that way over the next couple of weeks, go check it out! Otherwise, get costumed up and we’ll see you on 31st October down on the Plaza level Happy Hallowe’en!