The History of Halloween

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Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down. It’s not just the candy or pumpkin spice lattes, it’s the entire season. I love the costumes and makeup, but in reality it’s only for one night. It goes by so fast when you’re out trick-or-treating! I usually start decorating the house around October 1st, reluctantly taking it all back down on November 1st. But for that one month, I’m pretty happy, let me tell you! My favorite thing about this time of year is the spookiness of it all. The witches, black cats, ghosts, and ghouls. The movies that we watch almost every night. I love it all!

When you look into how this holiday actually started, it’s pretty interesting! Here’s a little background on how Halloween became a much-celebrated holiday.

Also known as “All Hallow’s Eve”, this holiday is traced back around 2,000 years when a Celtic festival was held on or around November 1st. Named “Samhain”, meaning “summer’s end” in Gaelic, this festival was an annual meeting at the end of the harvest year, where people would gather resources in preparation for the upcoming winter months. Also on the same day was “All Saints’ Day”, or “All Hallows’ Mass” as some called it, and both holidays may have influenced each other over the years. People believed that one this day, the line between the living and the dead was blurred. Spirits were thought to come out and haunt, so people would appease them by leaving them treats. Since October 31 is the day before, it was dubbed the “Eve of All Saints”, or “All Hallow’s Eve”.

So when did Halloween become popular? In 1785, a Scottish poet named Robert Burns’ poem helped popularize the term “Halloween”, which was a combination of the words “Hallow” and “een”, a contraction of “eve”.

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What about the costumes? Ancient Celtics believed that by dressing up as evil spirits, the demons would be confused and not harm them. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Irish and Scottish immigrants brought this tradition to the States. But it didn’t catch on for over one hundred more years! Instead of a feast or festival, children eventually began trick-or-treating for candy. It was seen as “kid friendly” in the 1950’s and has since grown into how we know it to be today.

So what’s your favorite thing about Halloween? Do you celebrate? If so, do you dress up?

No matter what you do on October 31st, I hope you have a great one!

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