Origin and History of Halloween in Canada From the historical records it is known that Halloween developed from the ancient pagan festival observed by Celtic (present UK, Ireland and northwestern France) people over 2000 years ago. This Pagan festival was celebrated under the name Samhain which means summers end. Later in pre-Christian times, people celebrated this festival by dressing up as ghosts. They believed that by doing this the real ghost will return back to its world. During the Christian era (around 800s), the churches decided to observe All Saints Day on November 1st, to remember the souls of saints. The evening before All Saints Day is called All Hallows Eve, it is abbreviated as All Halloween which got further shortened to Halloween. Local name: Ways to celeberate Halloween in Canada Although Halloween is not a federal holiday in Canada, people celebrated the event with great zeal. Many decorate their homes and backyards to showcase the theme of graveyards and ghosts.
They invite neighbors and friends to view their creation and for a themed party. These parties include Halloween symbols such as pumpkin lanterns, cobwebs, skeleton miniatures etc. Some people organize fancy dress parties, while the kids and adults wear scary masks and other horror freak costumes. Some of the kids enjoy the holiday by playing trick -or- treat. They dress up as ghosts and visit their neighbors and ask for sweets or presents. If the visitors do not get what they want the neighbors would have to play a trick. Any holiday or celebrations is incomplete without food, the Halloween feast includes toffee apples, roasted corn, pumpkin bread, popcorn etc.
Halloween was first practiced in Canada in the Maritimes and eastern port cities where Irish and Scottish settlers arrived in Canada around 1840. Many of the settlers arrived to build the canal or to escape the potato famine.
They brought with them the Pagan tradition of celebrating October 31 known as All HallowБs Eve, which is now called Halloween or Allhalloween. All HallowБs Eve is the day before old Samhain, which marks the first day of winter (also known as All SaintБs Day, All Souls Day, and the Day of the Dead). In the 19 century some Pagan traditions associated with All HallowБs Eve were still practiced in Canada, such as bobbing for apples, snap-apple, bonfires (fire with animal bones), collecting treats door to door, and divining the future. There are records of communities on the east coast gathering in farmhouses to practice their traditions. The belief that the souls of the dead and demons walked among people on Halloween and wearing a costume, or guising, would confuse them, which would act as a form of protection. The belief that souls of the dead would knock on doors to receive food, and if not given any food they would haunt or curse the home.
It became customary for people to hand out treats to all who knocked at the door. Irish and Scottish settlers in the eastern USA also practiced All HallowБs Eve traditions, causing the practice and celebration to increase in popularity and spread across North America in the following years. The apostrophe: The apostrophe in the word HalloweБen does not regularly make an appearance and sometimes it is dropped. You can take it or leave it, as using the apostrophe historically comes in and out of favour. In the 1960s marketing for the holiday dropped the apostrophe and it has maintained this spelling since; however, according to proper English grammar, it is recommended to use the apostrophe as it infers the word БeveБ after БhallowБ. CanadaБs contributions to the holiday (Yep, we recorded it first): A newspaper article from 1911 printed in Kingston, Ontario offers the first printed evidence of people putting on costumes and disguising or guising themselves, going door to door asking for treats on HalloweБen.
Another newspaper article from 1927 printed in Blackie, Alberta offers the first printed evidence of costumed youths going door to door to Бtrick or treatБ on HalloweБen. Barrett, Maria and Bill McNeil. (1961, October 31). CBC Assignment: Halloween Originates with Samhain, Lord of the Dead. Retrieved 2016, October 18 from БThe Origins of Halloween in Canada. Б Today in Canadian History. 2 November, 2015. Accessed 18, October 2016. Barrie, Andy. Guest referenced: Nick Rogers. (2002, October 21). CBC Metro Morning: The Evolution of Halloween. Retrieved 2016, October 18 from БThe Origins of Halloween in Canada. Б Today in Canadian History. 2 November, 2015. Accessed 18, October 2016. Additional Reference: MacInnis, Lloyd. (1957, October 31). CBC Assignment: Halloween, Maritime Witches. Retrieved 2016, October 18 from.