Since much of the history of Halloween wasn’t written down for centuries; some of it is still sketchy and subject to debate. It is believed that Halloween originated in the British Isles and actually goes back as far as 5 B.C. It was believed that spirits rose from the dead and mingled with the living on this day. The Celts left food at their doors to welcome good spirits and wore masks to scare off the bad ones. I guess that explains why we hand out candy and wear costumes, in case you ever found yourself wondering that. During the massive Irish immigration into America in the 1840’s, Halloween made its way to the United States.
It is also believed that celebrating the evening before a holiday is a Jewish tradition, such as Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, etc. So the word Halloween comes from the words “All Hallow’s Even”, and eventually was given a more modern name like Halloween. One legend that was told was that on All Hallows Eve a priest was walking down a street and saw bonfires burning and people dancing around them in costumes with shafts and torches in their hands. Since they were on a hill and the moon was in the background, it seemed like the people were flying in the air. The man told people in a village that witches were flying. So this is where the myth of witches on broomsticks flying on Halloween comes from.
The first official citywide Halloween celebration in the United States, was in Anoka, Minn., in 1921. Halloween became a holiday that was celebrated with parties and by the 1950’s it became more of a child’s celebration. Treats were handed out in order to prevent tricks like lawn rolling at each home. This is where “trick-or-treat” comes from. Interesting huh..? These traditions have made Halloween the country’s second largest commercial holiday by people spending over $ 2 billion on candy each year.
Today, Halloween is celebrated by adults once again and many parents decorate their homes, dressed in costumes and hand out candy. Despite its history, it’s now just seen as a way to have fun!
Even with this bit of Halloween history, I am still left wondering…where did the idea of pumpkins come from..? Happy Halloween!
Make it a great day!