We celebrate Halloween every year on October 31, a Monday in 2022. The tradition stems from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain when people dressed up and built bonfires to ward off ghosts. In the 19th century, Pope Gregory III established November 1 as a day to honor all saints.
It soon incorporated parts of Samhain’s customs into All Saints’ Day. The previous evening was known as All Hallows Eve and later as Halloween. Halloween has evolved into a day of festivities for us. Including trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, partying, dressing up in costumes, and eating candy.
“It’s as much fun to scare as to be scared because this is BOO sheet.”
Halloween’s Early History
Halloween originated with the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow). The Celts, who lived primarily in modern-day Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France 2,000 years ago, celebrated new year on November 1.
On this day, the seasons of summer, harvest, and the bleak, chilly winter, associated with human fatalities came to an end. The Celts believed they blurred the line between the living and the dead on the eve of the new year.
On the evening of October 31, Samhain, when the deceased was said to reappear, was celebrated.
The Celts believed that the presence of supernatural spirits made it easier for druids or Celtic priests to predict the future, causing difficulty and harming harvests. These forecasts comforted people who relied entirely on the unpredictable natural environment throughout the long, dark winter.
To commemorate this occasion, the Druids built massive sacred fires around which people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. During the festivities, the Celts attempted to predict each other’s futures by dressing up in costumes made of animal heads and skins.
Following the celebration, they rekindled the fires they had extinguished earlier that evening, using the sacred fire to keep themselves warm throughout the winter.
Have you heard? Kids would have to play nonstop for two days to burn off the average amount of candy consumed on Halloween.
By AD 43, the Roman Empire had conquered most Celtic lands. Over 400 years, they ruled the Celtic countries, two Roman holidays mingled with the traditional Celtic holiday of Samhain.
The first was Feralia, a Roman festival held at the end of October to commemorate the dead. Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, was honor on the second day. Pomona’s emblem is an apple, which presumably explains why the Halloween tradition of swinging an apple is still practicing today.
MORE READING: From pagan spirits to Wonder Woman: A brief history of the Halloween costume
The Day of the Dead
On May 13, 609 AD, Pope Boniface IV dedicated The Pantheon in Rome, honoring all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic All Martyrs Day was established in the Western Church. Later, Pope Gregory III changed the celebration date from May 13 to November 1 to include all victims and saints.
In the 19th century, Christianity began to impact the Celtic countries, where it gradually merged with and replaced the more ancient Celtic ceremonies. In 1000 AD, the church declared November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to remember the deceased. It is now widely accepted that the church attempted to replace the Celtic celebration of the dead with a comparable, church-approved holiday.
All Souls Day, like Samhain, was celebrated with large bonfires, parades, and people dressed as saints, angels, or demons. All Saints’ Day became known as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas (from the Middle English word Alholowmesse, which means All Saints’ Day). And the night before it was the Celtic faith’s customary Samhain night became known as All-Hallows. Christmas Eve and Halloween, respectively.
America Welcomes Halloween
Halloween celebrations were severely limited due to colonial New England’s conservative Protestant religious beliefs. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.
When the beliefs and traditions of various European ethnic groups and American Indians became intertwined. Then a unique American Halloween Traditions interpretation of Halloween began to emerge.
Early on, the harvest was celebrated with “play parties,” open-air gatherings. The neighbors sang, danced, and told ghost stories about each other’s fate.
Do you know? Americans will spend $490 million on pet costumes, more than twice what owners spent almost 10 years ago.
Historical Halloween celebrations included telling ghost stories and various forms of mischief. Annual fall celebrations were widespread by the middle of the 19th century, though Halloween was not yet widely observed.
In the second half of the 19th century, America experienced a massive influx of new immigrants. These newcomers, particularly the hordes of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, contributed to Halloween becoming a national holiday.
Halloween Tradition History
Taking cues from European traditions, Americans began dressing up in costumes and knocking on doors to beg for food or money. This practice evolved into the trick-or-treating tradition now known as Halloween Trick or Treat Bags. On Halloween, young ladies thought they could guess the name or appearance of their future husband by using tricks involving yarn, apple slices, or mirrors.
In the late 19th century, there was a movement in America to shift the focus of Halloween away from ghosts, tricks, and witchcraft. And toward community and neighborhood gatherings. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for children and adults were the most popular way to spend the day. The main attractions were Halloween candy-chocolate in Bulk during parties, games, celebratory meals, and costumes.
Read More: The history of trick-or-treating and how it became a Halloween tradition.
Newspapers and local governments urged parents to remove anything “scary” or “grotesque” from Halloween celebrations. As a result of these efforts, Halloween became less associated with superstition and religion in the early 20th century.
Ghosts are hiding in the walls creeping out when midnight is called. (Rusty Fischer)
In the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween evolved into a secular but neighborhood-focused celebration, with Halloween parties and parades serving as the primary forms of entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and towns, vandalism began to affect some events in many areas around this time with Genius Halloween Ideas.
As local officials successfully reduced vandalism, Halloween evolved into a celebration primarily enjoyed by young people by the 1950s. Because of the large number of small children born during the 1950s baby boom, gatherings shifted from metropolitan public facilities to classrooms or homes where they could be more easily accommodated.
Between the 1920s and 1950s, trick or treating, a centuries-old tradition, was revived. Trick-or-treating was a simple and inexpensive way for the entire neighborhood to participate in the Halloween celebration. In theory, households could also prevent them from being played with by giving small gifts to neighborhood children.
As a result, an innovative American custom that is still evolving was established.
Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion on Halloween and Celebrity Halloween Decoration each year, making it the country’s second most profitable holiday after Christmas.
Shocking Halloween films have a long history of box office success. The “Halloween” series, based on John Carpenter’s original 1978 film and starring Donald Pleasance, Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tony Moran, is one example of a classic Halloween film. In the movie “Halloween,” a young boy named Michael Myers murders his 17-year-old sister and is sent to prison.
However, as a teenager, he flees in search of his former residence and a new location on Halloween night.
In 2018, a “Halloween” sequel starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle was released. The sequel and overall 12th installment in the “Halloween” series, “Halloween Kills,” was released in 2021.
Halloween is regarded as a classic horror film, right down to its eerie score, and it inspired other legendary “slasher flicks” such as “Scream,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” and “Friday the 13th.” Other family-friendly Halloween films include “Hocus Pocus,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Beetlejuice,” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
Soul Cake for Soul Day
Halloween trick-or-treating in America is thought to have originated with the first Halloween parades in England. During the festivities, poor people would beg for food, and families would give them treats called “soul cakes” in exchange for a promise to pray for deceased family members.
The church sponsored the distribution of soul cakes as an alternative to the tradition of giving wine and food to wandering spirits. Children eventually adopted the custom of “going a-souling,” which entailed visiting houses in their neighborhood and obtaining beer, food, and money.
Wearing and buying costumes in Halloween costume stores is a European and Celtic tradition. Winter was a foreboding and terrifying season back then. There was a constant shortage of food, and the few winter days were filled with fear for many who were scared of the dark.
When people left their homes on Halloween, when ghosts were said to return to the underworld, they expected to see ghosts. When people went to their homes after dark, they wore masks to fool the spirits into thinking they were someone else. It did this to avoid detection by these ghosts.
On Halloween, people used to leave food bowls outside their doors to appease ghosts and deter them from entering. In addition, to add to the mystery, they decorate pumpkins with Clever Pumpkin Carving.
I heard a pumpkin a day keeps the goblins away! What do you get when you drop the pumpkin?
Ghosts and Black Cats Themed Halloween
Halloween has long been associate with mystery, magic, and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer celebration during which people felt particularly close to their departed loved ones. They left gifts on doorknobs and along the road, reserved seats at the dinner table for these friendly ghosts to lit candles. And used different Diy Candle Halloween Hacks to help their loved ones return to the spirit realm.
Today’s Halloween ghosts are frequently depicted as more terrifying and eviler, and our traditions and superstitions are equally terrifying. We avoid black cats because we believe they are unlucky for humans. This myth originated from the Middle Ages when it was popularly believed that witches could conceal themselves by changing into black cats.
For the same reason, we try to avoid crawling beneath ladders. This superstition may have originated with the ancient Egyptians, who believed triangles were sacred (it may also have something to do with walking under a slanted ladder being quite dangerous). We try hard not to break mirrors, trip over cracks in the pavement, or spill salt, especially around Halloween.
Halloween Matchmaking and Less Popular Rituals
But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten? Many of these outmoded rites emphasize the present more than the past and the living rather than the dead.
Many folks were eager to help young women locate potential husbands. And make sure they might wed someday—ideally by Halloween the following year. On Halloween night, the chef of an Irish matchmaker may hide a ring in her mashed potatoes. For the hopes that the diner who finds it will find true love.
Before tossing the nuts into the hearth. The fortune tellers in Scotland advised young women who were eligible to name a hazelnut for each potential suitor. According to legend, a nut that burned to ashes rather than cracking or bursting represented the girl’s future spouse. (In some versions of this myth, the opposite was true: a burning nut represented a fleeting love.)
Another legend held that if a young woman dreamed of a sweet concoction of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg. Before going to bed on Halloween night, she would dream of her future spouse.
Young women would throw apple peels over their shoulders. And hoping that the peels would land on the ground in the shape of their future husbands’ initials to predict their future. They would also stand in front of mirrors in pitch-black rooms, holding candles in their hands, and peer over their shoulders at their husbands’ faces.
Other ceremonies were more competitive. The person who discovers a chestnut hunt at a Halloween party may also be the first to marry. Others believe that the first apple bobber in the lane would be the first to succeed.
Above all, whether we are seeking love advice or hoping to avoid seven years of bad luck. Each Halloween superstition depends on the kindness of the same “spirits” whose presence the early Celts felt so strongly.