Who Has a Question About Halloween? Halloween has a pretty cool and spooky history, going back thousands of years. The holiday has morphed from a fairly eerie night of superstition, to the playful, family-centric celebration we know today. But why do we celebrate Halloween? LetБs explore! How did Halloween begin? Roughly 2,000 years ago, the end of October always marked a significant time of year for early Europeans, mostly those of Gaelic (pre-Ireland) and Scottish origin. On October 31 each year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, observing the end of the summer harvest season and the beginning of winter. But in a spooky twist, they believed the night before November 1 Б the
eve of all All SaintБs Day Б was when the dead returned to the Earth as ghosts. Bonfires were lit to ward of evil spirits, in the hopes of keeping away bad vibes for the wintertime. The saints were referred to as БhallowsБ, deeming October 31 as БAll HallowsБ EveБ.
Many traditions, like dressing in costume and bobbing for apples, evolved during the Middle Ages, eventually making its way to 19 century America. Irish and Scottish immigrants began to revive these customs in early colonial times, as the shortened БHalloweenБ came to be. Why do we dress up? These early partyers would often dress in costume to keep away any evil spirits before All SaintБs Day. On All HallowsБ Eve, villagers would wear masks to avoid being recognized by the ghosts they believed were walking around town. As times marched on, young Irish and Scottish tricksters would begin to dress up in scary costumes, spooking their friends and neighbors for fun. But fast forward to 1950s America, when the entire holiday became a much more mainstream. A family-friendly evening, with more colorful, creative, and pleasant costumes, emerged. Why do we trick-or-treat for candy? Believe it or not, November 2 marked a third holiday for these Halloween trailblazers: All SoulБs Day.
During the Middle Ages, children would go БsoulingБ, collecting food or money in exchange for saying prayers for the dead. The practice of БguisingБ came next in Scotland, where children and young adults would perform at the doorsteps of their neighbors by telling jokes or singing, and be rewarded with fruit, wine, or coins. Then in 1920s North America, kids would play tricks on their neighbors, following in step with the early immigrantsБ traditions. They were promptly chased out with sweets and candies Б much to their delight! Why do we carve pumpkins? During the time All HallowsБ Eve was coming to rise in Ireland and Scotland, the story of БStingy JackБ circulated. As legend goes, Stingy Jack was not a nice guy. Due to his actions on Earth, he was not let into heaven or hell when he passed away. With nowhere to go, Jack scooped out the inside of a turnip and filled it with glowing coal, allowing him to roam around at night.
Irish legend referred to him as БJack of the LanternБ, or Jack OБLantern! From this tall tale, children and adults would scoop out turnips, potatoes, or beets and set them aglow during HallowsБ Eve to ward off unsavory characters like Jack. When these traditions came to America, early settlers discovered pumpkins as a native crop. It is believed pumpkins replaced the other vegetables as the glowing vessel of choice. Happy Halloween! б Sources: mentalfloss. com, history. com, countryliving. com he origins of trick or treating and dressing up were in the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people went door-to-door in costume asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead and were understood to be protecting themselves from the spirits by impersonating them.
More about that below. P The Christian origin of the holiday is that it falls on the days before the feast of All Hallows, which was set in the eighth century to attempt to stamp out pagan celebrations. Christians would honour saints and pray for souls who have not yet reached heaven. What has Halloween got to do with dressing up? Celts dressed up in white with blackened faces during the festival of Samhain to trick the evil spirits that they believed would be roaming the earth before All Saints\’ Day on November 1st. By the 11th century, this had been adapted by the Church into a tradition called \’souling\’, which is seen as being the origin of trick-or-treating. Children go door-to-door, asking for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of friends and relatives. They went dressed upP PThe soul cakes were sweet, with a cross marked on top and when eaten they represented a soul being freed from purgatory.