Have you ever wondered how Halloween started? Now that Halloween is just a few days away, it’s a good time to learn a little bit about the history of this scary, fun-filled, candy-coma inducing holiday!
When we think of Halloween, we think of candy, costumes, haunted houses and trick-or-treating. But the word Halloween literally means “hallowed evening”. There was a time, long ago in Europe, when it was known as All Hallows’ Eve. All Hallows’ Eve (celebrated on October 31) and All Saints’ Day (celebrated November 1) were both times to honor saints (“hallows” means “saints”). Eventually the two celebrations were combined in to one name – Halloween.
Halloween is celebrated on October 31 because the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, considered the earliest version of Halloween, occurred on that day. It was a time of year when the season changed and people believed that the wall between this world and the next became thin, allowing the two worlds to connect. The idea of being able to communicate with the dead lead to Halloween becoming known as a “haunted” holiday. Samhain (Samain) – The Celtic Roots of Halloween
Back in the old days, people would dress up as saints and go door to door singing songs and reciting verses. Children would ask for “soul cakes” (similar to biscuits), which eventually evolved into trick-or-treating. It wasn’t until the early to mid-1900s that giving out candy became mainstream in the U.S. People would give candy (treats) in the hopes that it would prevent them from being the victims of holiday pranks (tricks).
Costumes also evolved from being tributes to saints to wearing scary-looking costumes in order to give unsuspecting neighbors a fright. This custom began with some young Scottish and Irish pranksters and thanks to them, now dressing up for Halloween has become a tradition of wearing spooky, funny, and creative costumes of all kinds.
Halloween is a popular holiday in America today, but it almost didn’t make it here. The Puritans disapproved of the holiday’s pagan roots and did not take part in Halloween celebrations. Then Irish and Scottish immigrants began arriving in America in great numbers, and with them came the celebration of this fun holiday where people would sing, dance and tell ghost stories to commemorate the upcoming harvest. This is What Halloween Was Like the Year You Were Born
By the early 20th century, it is estimated that Halloween was celebrated by the majority of people across the nation. This year will be no different, however HOW people celebrate this year might require some adjustments due to our current situation. How to Safely Celebrate Halloween During a Pandemic
However you decided to celebrate this haunting holiday, stay safe and enjoy!
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