Thousands will go trick or treating for Halloween this year wearing a whole array of creepy costumes. Groups of ghosts and ghouls will be knocking on doors demanding sweets while others head out partying for the night. But how many of those dressing up actually know the origins of Halloween and the reason for wearing horrifying outfits in the first place? Here is everything you need to know. When is Halloween? Halloween is marked on October 31 every year. Why do we celebrate Halloween? Halloween dates back to the pagan times and is thought to originate with the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain. Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, meaning вsummerвs endв. Gaels in this period areВthought to have believed this time of year was also when the walls between the worlds were thin and porous and enabled spirits to pass through. Gaels feared the return of spirits through this thin wall between the worlds because they thought they might damage their crops for the next season. As a result, to appease any spirits that would creep through, they would set up places at their dinner tables and offer the spirits food and drink. Bonfires would also be lit to scare off evil spirits. But isnвt Halloween aВChristian thing?
Halloween also marks the day before the feast of All Saints Day (also known as All Hallows), a day that dates back to the eighth century and was designed to stamp out pagan traditions and convert people to Christianity. On this day, Christians would honour the saints and pray for spirits who hadnвt yet reached heaven. Why do we go trick or treating? Trick or treating started in Ireland, Scotland and Wales and involved people dressing up in costumes and knocking on doors asking for food. ВThe groups would offer up poems and songs in exchange for the food. This trick or treat tradition evolved into children exchanging prayers for the dead in exchange for вsoul cakesв in the 11th century in a tradition called вsoulingв. ВThese soul cakes were sweet with a cross on the top and they were intended to represent a spirit being freed from purgatory when eaten. By the 19th century, this had evolved into a tradition where children would sing songs, tells jokes and read poems instead of prayers for pieces of fruit andВmoney. Later, the childrenВwould play threatening pranks on people to get them to hand over sweets. The name вtrick or treatв was first used in America in 1929 after immigrants took traditions surrounding the day overseas.
Why do we dress up? People firstВstartedВdressing up as souls of the dead, angels and saints for Halloween hundreds of years ago. The origins of doing this в particularly among the trick or treaters вВВwas because people believed impersonating the spirits in this way would offer protection from them. Why do we carve pumpkins? This goes back to the Samhain festival when people would decorate their homes to ward off bad spirits. They used to carve turnips and over time this evolved into carving pumpkins. This is believed to be because when Irish immigrants were in America they could only find pumpkins to carve. The pumpkin carving tradition took off properly in the 1920s. The term вJack OвLanternв is believed to have come from the folk story of Stingy Jack who tricked the devil into buying him a drink. Because of this, when he died he wasnвt allowed into heaven or hell but instead was trapped by the devil instead a burning ember, which was kept inside a turnip. MORE: MORE:
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) Americans are expected to spend. Superheroes, princesses, Batman and animals are expected to be the kid top-sellers. Dressing up has been a tradition for generations, but how did it all get started?
Let me dispel one of the most common misconceptions it wasn t to scare off evil spirits, said Lisa Morton, author of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween. Halloween dates back 2,000 years ago, when the Celts celebrated Samhain, or the beginning of winter. It was cold, dark, dangerous and you couldn t see, people thought the spirits were out, said Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, author of Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History. But both authors say that is not when people started dressing up. Over the next several hundred years, costumes were common for many holidays. Children would guise throughout the year by asking for food in exchange for songs, dances or prayers. Fast forward to the 1800s, when Halloween become known for pranks. The pranking started getting dangerous during that time, and towns and cities starting thinking about cancelling Halloween. There was a gradual push from families, communities and civic organizations to change the nature of the holidays from trick to treat. Basically, they bought the kids off with treats and costumes, Morton said. Costumes were mass-produced by the 1930s, bringing us to where we are today в sexy Elvis costumes.