THE TRADITION of masks, light and pumpkins connected with the “All-Souls” holiday was revived during the Celebration of Lights on the evening of Tuesday, October 30, at a mansion in Trebišov. About 600 people attended the event, including families with children, donning various monster- and ghost-masks.
“The goal of the event is to commemorate the All Hallows holiday but also to clarify that the American Halloween is in fact our European holiday, the feast of ancient Celts, which was taken over by Americans from European immigrants, and later commercialised,” Beáta Kereštanová, head of the Museum and Cultural Centre of South Zemplín in Trebišov, which organised the event, told the TASR newswire.
The Celebration of Lights observed numerous rituals, traditions and mysteries connected with the autumn season. “Old Celtic tradition says that it is the night from October 31 to November 1 during which the wall between the world of the living and the dead is the thinnest,” Kereštanová added.
The feast was given a medieval theme and included music, grilled food and other delicacies, like Tokaj wine. For children, various sites were prepared in the mansion with elaborate performances, ghostly masks and lights.
The feast of Samhain, which fell on this night, held great importance for the Celts, who believed that the days which we today celebrate as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, hold a magical power. They considered it their duty to take care of the souls of the dead, and thus food, light and gifts are connected with the holiday.
On the night of November 1, out of fear that the souls of their dead relatives might become angry and harm them, children would go door-to-door throughout the neighbourhood, singing ritual songs and receiving money or cakes in return.
The baking activity itself was a symbol of the soul, and children believed that the more cakes they ate, the bigger the favour of the deceased would be.