While we all enjoy celebrating Halloween, most of us probably do not know the history of this spooky holiday. Well because I love Halloween so much, I decided to do some research into it and make a post on what I learned. It was certainly interesting to learn the history of my favorite holiday; I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I did.
The word “Halloween’ comes from a shortening of the term “All Hallows’ Evening”. Halloween is a Christian feast that incorporates many of the traditions of the Celtic feast of Samhain. It is not agreed upon whether the Christians co-opted this pagan holiday as they did to others or whether it developed separately.
For Christians, Halloween is the day before All Saints Day. It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until the next All Saints’ Day, and All Hallows’ Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving onto the next world. So you can see how Halloween is related to spirits and ghosts. Puritans in America were opposed to Halloween, it did not become widely popular until the wave of Scottish and Irish immigrants came over and spread its popularity from coast to coast by the early twentieth century.
Pumping carving stems from a Christian tradition of carving turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory. American Christians began using pumpkins because they were widely available and easier to carve because of their size. I was happy to learn that carving pumpkins is a thoroughly American tradition! Trick or Treating is another staple of Halloween. It dates back to the middle ages, when the poor would go door to door on Christmas to receive food. In some parts of Scotland, the “Trick” part refers not to a prank in the absence of a treat but to a trick or song that the child must perform to receive the treat. Wearing costumes while Trick or Treating as invented by the Scottish as well. The first commercially produced costumes showed up in the United States in the 1930s, as Trick or Treating became widely popular.
I learned much more about Halloween in my research but I will save that for a later post. I had fun learning all this interesting stuff about Halloween, I hope you liked it too!
Emma Rae Curtis writes and researches everything Halloween. Costumes, party ideas, baby costumes and makeup.