How do you spell or write the name of the annual weird spooky “celebration” which takes place today, on 31st October. Is it Halloween….or Hallowe’en?
The first version is the one you’ll see most often – Hallo (a common greeting) and ween (what’s that?! what’s a ween?!). It doesn’t mean anything! Does it….?
The second version – Hallowe’en – does have meaning, because it’s a shortened version of Hallow and evening – e’en. It means the eve or evening of those who are hallowed, i.e. honoured and holy.
The evening of All Hallows, or All Souls, is 31st October. It is followed by All Saint’s Day, on 1st November. Traditionally it’s the evening – the eve of All Saint’s Day.
I was taught, as a child, that on Hallowe’en, there was a mysterious gap between the worlds of matter and spirit, and that this was when those souls who were not at rest came back into our world to find peace, or to complete unfinished business in their former earthly lives. Hence the spooky scary stuff surrounding this weird event, now made as commercial as possible. Let’s not forget the original meaning, even though it’s now festival of ghoulish fun for children and an excuse to dress up and cadge sweets and goodies from neighbours.