Some links between the two festivals
Some facts about two festivals
A few months ago, the Halloween festival and our Ghost-Fourteenth festival (Bhoot-Chaturdashi) were celebrated. Many people may know the story of lighting fourteen lamps or eating fourteen vegetables in ‘Bhoot Chaturdashi’ but does everyone know the connection of ‘Bhoot Chaturdashi’ with the story of the origin of the name 'Banga' in Bengal (a state of India)? Our country is divided over the celebration of Halloween. Some people celebrate it with great pleasure and most people think that it is a foreign festival, so it is not necessary to celebrate it in our country. We must remember that this is the age of cultural harmony. If foreigners can play Holi in colors, why can't we join the Halloween celebrations? It's a well-known fact that Halloween has a lot in common with Ghost Fourteen, but the stories are different. Here I have tried to put together a fun story of Halloween and Ghost Fourteen in simple language so that the readers can enjoy reading.
About Bhoot-Chaturdashi (Ghost-Fourteenth) Festival
First of all, let's talk about Bhoot Chaturdashi, the day that is celebrated in India just before the New Moon. During the New Moon, many people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Bengalis worship Goddess Kali because She is the omnipotence, She is the darkness of all powers. Here we are talking about the day before the Diwali festival in India which is called Bhoot Chaturdashi day. On this day, Bengalis remember fourteen ancestral-men by lighting fourteen vegetables and fourteen lamps. Bhoot means 'past', Bhoot means 'ghost'. On this day, boys carry ghee (clarified butter) -basil leaves -kohl on the right side of the forehead, and girls on the left side of the forehead to ward off evil spirits.
Some people call this Kartiki Chaturdashi (the fourteenth day of Kartik month) as 'Yam (the god of death)-Chaturdashi'. This day is dedicated to Yam which shows that Yam understands that the ancestors have not been forgotten in the clan, so he allowed the dead to go back to their loved ones for this one day. According to another story, this day is also called 'Naraka(the Hell)- Chaturdashi'. The story is - there was a great demon named Naraka, who was the king of Pragjyotishpur. Everyone was uncomfortable with his oppression. He invaded heaven and stole the Parijat tree and Lord Indra’s mother Aditi's earrings. At the request of the gods, Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama go to rescue them. On the fourteenth day, NarKasur was finally killed, and the Yadavs (Lord Krishna’s clan) met at the festival in Dwarka. However, the story of this festival is different in Eastern India. The sage Dirghatama of the first mandala of the Rigveda is the son of Utathya and Mamta, he was blind and skilled in poetry, other sages used to avoid him because he used to have sexual relation everywhere. At the behest of Dirghatama's wife Pradeshi, their sons put their father on a raft and floated him in the Ganges. The famous king Chakraborty Bali saw him and took him to the palace. Sage Dirghatama gave birth to five sons named Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Pundra, and Suksha, in the womb of Bali’s wife Sudeshna. These five sons of the Bali king ruled in eastern India, and the kingdoms were named after them. Lord Indra was defeated in the battle and Bali became the lord of heaven, earth, and the underworld. The gods became restless with the power of Bali and took refuge in Lord Vishnu because Bali did not worship Vishnu. Vishnu, in the form of a dwarf incarnation, asked Bali for three feet of land, Bali agreed to give it knowingly. That dwarf incarnation then placed one of his feet in heaven, the other in the earth and when the third leg came out of the navel of the abdomen, the grandson of Prahalad (who was a devotee of Vishnu)- Bali held that foot in his head and his place is in the underworld. Bali became the mortal soul, Mahabali is one of the seven eternal beings, the other six are - Byasadeva, Ashvathama, Kripacharya, Parasurama, Hanuman, and Vibhishana.
As It is said that on the night of Chaturdashi, the devotee of Shiva, Bali came to the mortal world with his followers to worship. The lamp is lit so that the followers of Bali do not get in the way. According to another, the fourteen lamps that were lit on this night were intended for the 7 ancestors, and for the 7 gods and goddesses, it means that people should not be arrogant as a result of gaining wealth, and promised their ancestors that they would protect the dignity of the family. The rest is about eating 14 vegetables- these various disease-fighting vegetables are eaten at the beginning of winter. 14 vegetables wash water is sprinkled on the dark corners of the room.
Some Pictures of Bhoot-Chaturdashi Festival
Now let's talk about Halloween. Halloween, like Ghost Fourteenth, happens every year on October 31 - preparations are underway throughout the month to celebrate this night in memory of spirits. Throughout October, everyone is busy making arrangements, making pumpkin lanterns, decorating houses and highways, and making chocolates and pastries. Halloween is now celebrated in many countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India. The whole meaning of the word 'Halloween' is - Hallow Evening which means Holy Evening, the word comes from the Scottish word 'All Hallow' z Eve, 'Hallow' means something sacred or Saints hence this day is also called 'All Saints Eve'. In the past, the word All Hallows Eve was coined in 1556, but first used in 1745.
About Halloween Festival
Now let's come to the story. About two thousand years ago, the Celtic people celebrated the first day of November as their New Year's Day, which they considered to be the end of summer and the beginning of winter, and the last day of October as the worst night. They thought that on the last night of October, all the dissatisfied spirits would return, and that day the Halloween witch-Sara would fly across the sky with a broom. The old witch sometimes knocks on the door of a house, people used to wear different kinds of ghost masks and clothes as they could be harmed if they met them. Extensive research has been done on the pagan effects of Halloween. Celtic speakers lived mainly in six regions of Western Europe - Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man, collectively known as the Celtic Territory. Another branch of the Celtic language is Gaelic (a combination of Scottish, Manx, and Irish), which is now spoken by 1.9 million people. The pagan customs of the Celtic nation were influenced by the recent conversion to Christianity, and not only the Celts, but also some pagan religions have their roots in the Halloween tradition, so some pagan shadows can be seen on Halloween. Halloween has many ideas, but the main ones are three, they are- (1) Pomona- Pomona was the goddess of the abundance of the pagan Romans. She was also the goddess of orchards, the feast in her memory bears a resemblance to some of the traditional customs of Halloween. (2) Parentela- The festival was celebrated for 9 days in ancient Rome, beginning on 13 February and honoring ancestors. (3) Samhain- Most importantly, the Samhain, dividing the year into two parts, called the summer season or the brightest season, and the next part is winter or the season of darkness- this is the connection between light and darkness, so October 31 is Samhain or Halloween. This is a Gaelic holiday, the festival begins at the end of the Gaelic harvest, October 31 when the sun sets and the beginning of the sun and at the same time the beginning of winter, this is a very important day, on this day they used to light bonfires which are now on Halloween. At this time, according to the Gaelic belief - the veil between the real world and the spirit world is weakened so that the souls of the ancestors can easily travel to the living, Outside the house, food, drink, and grain was kept for dinner, chairs were also placed on the table for the souls of the ancestors, a practice common in nineteenth-century Ireland. Since 609 we have been observing All Hallows Day, although, under other names, Pope Boniface IV dedicates May 13 to the pagan pantheon of Rome - St. Mary and other saints, on the same date, the Roman Feast of the Dead commemorated the saints of Lemuria. In the ninth century (835), the Western Church observed the influence of the Samhain of the Gaelic and removed the date of All Saints' Day from May to November 1, under the direction of Pope Gogoro IV. Gradually, Samhain and this All-Saints’ Day merged into today's Halloween, the word Samhain was used until the nineteenth century.
Halloween is celebrated on October 31 - Candles are lit in the church in remembrance of the souls of past saints, followed by a feast for Western Christians on November 1. All Hallows Day or Hallowmas - the day when all known and unknown saints in history are commemorated, and finally on November 2, All Soul's Day - is the day to commemorate the souls of transcendental Christians. These three days combine to be the All Hallow Tide or Hallowtide of Western Christians. People from the Irish, British, and Welsh communities believed that on the night of October 31, the god of death, Saehan, summoned all the dead souls. They believed that the dead lived with fairies in the small mountains of Scotland and Ireland. Since the dead were given a last chance to avenge the resurrection of the living, everyone would take to the streets in masks so that no soul could recognize them. Children play Trick or Treat this night - if a homeowner doesn't give a treat, a trick will be applied to him. The practice of carving sweet pumpkins or large vegetables into hollows began in Somerset in the twentieth century and gradually spread throughout England. It is called Jack-O 'Lantern or Will - O' The – Wisp.
Halloween was not celebrated in America in the eighteenth or early nineteenth century, the celebration of Halloween began in the 19th century when Scots and Irish began to colonize America on a large scale and then spread throughout American society in the twentieth century. The main idea or theme that is followed is to face the power of death with humor and gifts.
Some Pictures of Halloween
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Tuli Banerjee
Tuli Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on February 05, 2021:
Yes, Bhoot-Chaturdashi (ghost-fourteenth) festival is celebrated in eastern-India, the day before the Diwali festival, you can say it is a Bengali version of Halloween.
I am glad that you liked it.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Appreciate your kind words of appreciation.
Thank you so much, Ann.
Ann Carr from SW England on February 05, 2021:
I had never heard of 'Ghost-Fourteenth' so this is an education. It looks wonderful in your photos.
Hallowe'en celebrations here were never around when I was young - it slowly crept over from America. I'm not a fan of going round to others' houses and pestering them, though it's a bit better nowadays as people are more considerate and the 'trick' bit doesn't happen so much or is much more friendly. My grandchildren do it but I never do.
Thanks for the education.