Is it OK for Hungarians to celebrate Halloween?
Since Halloween is becoming more and more popular among younger generations, there is a growing dispute among Hungarians: should we celebrate this Anglo-Saxon tradition? There is the group who wears costumes and carves pumpkins, and there is the other which says: “there is no Halloween in Hungary, we have All Saints’ Day”. Who is right?
Gondola.hu wrote an extensive piece on how it is possible to have it all:
Why can’t we celebrate Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day altogether? After all, these are celebrated on completely different dates, and for completely different reasons.
Although Halloween has Anglo-Saxon roots, many Halloween traditions originate from ancient Celtic harvest festivals (particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain) which may have had pagan roots. Celtics had only two seasons: winter (from the 31st of October to the 1st of May) and summer. It was believed that during winter, the god of the sun, Samhain, is being trapped by the god of darkness, who summons all the dead souls on October 31. On that day, Celtic priests gathered on top of the hill and lit huge bonfires, danced around them and offered sacrifices in order to chase away all of the bad ghosts.
Traditional Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
Halloween celebrations are more and more popular in Hungary each year: costume parties are organised all over Budapest, people post their jack-o’-lanterns on Instagram, and everyone is buying everything pumpkin-shaped.
Some people (usually from the older generations) think that, due to the growing attention Hungarians pay to Halloween, we slowly forget the two Christian holidays that have long traditions in Hungary: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. All Saints’s Day (November 1) is the celebration of all the Saints that went to Heaven and have no particular date devoted to them, while All Souls’ Day (November 2) is about commemorating all the souls that are being purified.
Both of these are holidays of the Catholic Church as opposed to Halloween which is believed to have pagan roots.
People argue that Halloween has no tradition in Hungary. It is not celebrated in Central Europe, and it belongs to the West, particularly to the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, some can argue that All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are not celebrated for their religious aspect either. For most Hungarians, these two days are only about going to the cemetery to visit their parted loved-ones and light a few candles.
Source: www.gondola.hu; Wikipedia