Halloween wasn’t always about trick-or-treating, candy, costumes, and pumpkins. Now, for kids at least, Halloween is mostly about the treats. Some people still love the scary side of Halloween, while others prefer costumes and candy. You may or may not be surprised that the original reason that Halloween started is actually pretty spooky.
Halloween was started around 2,000 years ago. The exact timing is unknown. Many believe that it started as an ending of summer celebration for Celtic pagans. Their festival of Samhain was on November 1st. On this day, the Celtic pagans believed that spirits could return to the physical world and could ruin their crops.
In order to protect their harvests from these spirits, they would leave out food and drink offerings for the spirits. People would also dress up in white with blackened faces to try to “blend in” with the ghosts. We bet these were some pretty creepy costumes.
However, after the Romans overtook the Celts, Christianity was more widespread. They didn’t want to completely ban pagan holidays in fear of fighting. Scholars believed that Romans tried to combine traditions so those old pagan ways would be phased out, instead of completely banned.
So, they moved the Christian Feast Day for Martyrs from May to October and renamed it the Feast of All Saints. The night before the festival, October 31, churches would hold a special vigil called All Hallows Eve. Hallows was another word for saints.
All Hallows Eve eventually became what we now celebrate as Halloween, although the traditions have changed very drastically for most. In the old days, eventually, the holidays on October 31 and November 1 were combined. They called it Christian All Souls Day and people would say prayers for other people’s deceased loved ones in exchange for pastries.
These pastries were called soul cakes and they were meant to represent being saved from Purgatory, where it was believed that ghosts lived there. This was similar to the tradition of leaving out food for spirits by the Celts. Later, kids became involved. Children would tell jokes, give performances or play music to earn money or treats. Eventually, this is what has become modern trick-or-treating.
Did you know where Halloween originated? Do you like the spooky or sweet side of Halloween? Are you dressing up this year?
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