HALLOWEEN MASKS

Masks

Halloween masks. Those creepy looking plastic things that make the wearer too hot, get wet with condensed breath, and obstruct vision unless parents cut the eye-holes larger. Which is probably why they’re the first things kids discard at Halloween parties. They do add much to certain costumes, however.
The first masks were worn at the Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on Samhain, evil spirits could travel from the netherworld into ours, and sought to protect themselves by wearing scary masks that would frighten such spirits away from their homes and keep them from knowing their true identities, thus making it harder to do bad things to them. Samhain only became Halloween after Christian priests started turning pagan festivals into Christian ones, with the Halloween coming from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’, the night before All Hallow’s Day (also called All Saints Day).
As the centuries went by, masks accessorized the costumes medieval people wore for pageants and celebratory processions, and, by the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries (the Renaissance Period), were also serving another, less worthy, purpose. During this time, upper class people donned masks to hide their identities at masquerade balls in which they indulged in activities society did not, in general, approve of. These masks were quite elegant affairs, often studded with jewels and worn with sumptuous costumes.
In modern times, burglars and bank robbers have found masks quite useful, too. Likewise Batman, Zorro, and the Lone Ranger, who at least had good reasons for wanting to remain anonymous.

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