The History of Halloweens Diverting Traditions

By: ALEXIS GILLEY

The celebration of halloween now including candy and jack-o-lanterns was never the real intent behind this extravagant holiday. With the tradition of certain practices passed down and twisted through interpretation, Halloween has quite differed over the last 2000 years.

The Celts, a group of indo-european people, mostly occupied areas in what is now Ireland, the United kingdom, and Northern France, celebrated the new year on November 1st. This signified the transformation of summer to winter. As well as crop destruction and death due to the belief that the night before the new year, October 31,  the “boundary” between death and living was “blurred”. The Celts also believe that this allowed celtic priest to make future predictions. There were huge bonfires for sacrificing crops and livestock while they dressed in animal skins and wore head pieces. This was called Samhain. 

When the Roman empire conquered the Celtic land they combined two of their traditions with the celtic celebration Samhain. One was Feralia, the passing of the dead and Pomona, roman goddess of fruit and tree. This is where we get today’s tradition of bobbing for apples. Later in about 1000 A.D Christiantity spread to once Celtic lands and influenced many. They made November 2 All Souls Day, thought to replace the Celtic festival with a church sanctioned holiday. They would dress up as saints, angels, or devils and lit big bonfires, alike the Celtic people. 

Halloween had been limited in england colonies due to consuming protostent beliefs. Though it was common in Maryland and other southern colonies. The Americans would do “play parties” of public celebration of harvest, they would tell stories, dance and sing. Most commonly enjoyed were famous ghost stories but halloween did not become big until new immigrants rushed in fleeing the Irish potato famine. 

There are many examples of where trick or treating started. Before in earlier times, people dressed up to scare away unwelcome spirits and visitors. However further down the timeline people began dressing up and performing bizarre tasks in hopes for food and a drink. “Poor” people would visit wealthy houses and receive a soul cake in exchange for praying for the household’s dead relatives. In some places people would have to perform some sort of trick or recite a poem before earning their treat. Today almost 2.6 billion dollars are spent on candy for halloween trick or treating, a tradition practiced for many years and many more to come.

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