Origins Halloween began 2000 years ago inIreland with the ancient religion of theCelts (Paganism).
They celebrated theirNew Year onNovember 1st. This day marked the end of summer and thebeginning of the dark, cold winter, a time ofyear that was often associated with humandeath.
Samhain (sow-in) On the night of October 31, they celebratedSamhain, when it was believed that the ghostsof the dead returned to earth.
Costumes People thought that they would encounterghosts if they left their homes…
So they wore costumes. This way, the ghosts couldn’t recognize them!
Symbols Nuts, fruits and apples were part of theSamhain harvest ceremonies. Apples were sacred andlucky! The colours of Halloweenare Orange and Black -they represent harvest(orange) and death (black)
The Christian Influence As the influence of Christianityspread into Celtic lands, in the 7thcentury, Pope Boniface IVintroduced All Saints Day, a timeto honor saints and martyrs, to replacethe Pagan festival of Samhain. Oct. 31stthus became AllHallows Eve (hallow means saint).
Trick-or-treating began withthe poor in the 15thcentury… During the All Souls Day festival in England,poor people would beg for “soul cakes,” made out ofsquare pieces of bread with currants Families would give soul cakes in return for apromise to pray for the family’s relatives
then children… The practice, which wasreferred to as "going a-souling" was eventuallytaken up by children whowould visit the housesin their neighborhood andbe given ale, food, andmoney.
Today: Children still go from house-to-house, butinstead of food, and money, they get sweets.
Halloween went toAmerica In the 19thcentury, millions of Irish emigrantsfled into America as a result of the potatofamine. They brought with them theirtraditions of Halloween.
The Jack-O-Lantern The Irish used to carryturnips with candles inthem to light their wayat night and to scareaway ghosts..
When they arrived in America theyfoundthat there were lots of pumpkins and theywere much easier to carve than turnips.
Now, Jack-O-Lanterns areused for decorating people’shomes.