The Real Story Behind of HALLOWEEN
Halloween evolved from Samhain, which is a very old pagan holiday. Though it used to be a holiday about ghosts and scary spirits, nowadays it is more about fun costumes and treats.
Samhain was a festival the Irish celebrated that marked the start of the winter season and the end of the summer. The exact day was observed on the 31st of October, and the Celts used to believe that the spirits of the dead would visit their old homes on this day. The doors between the worlds of the living and that of the dead would be open on this day, and spirits could travel freely between these worlds. In the 8th century, it was Pope Gregory III who marked November 1 as a day to honor all saints, which is why that day is called All Saints’ Day. The evening before, 31st of October, was known as All Hallows’ Eve and this later became known as Halloween.
On All Souls’ Day, November the 2nd, the needy used to beg for pastries known as soul cakes. In return, they would offer prayers peoples’ dead relatives.
The Irish used to start big bonfires in their fields, and as an attempt to scare the evil spirits and fairies away from houses, families would bring huge turnips and pumpkins, carve them and place candles inside them and leave them on the doorsteps of their homes, and on the roadways.
People used to wear costumes for the same reason, which is to scare spirits and caution them from getting close to people or entering their homes. This is called guising, and In the Halloween tradition of guising, young people would also dress up in costumes and accept food, money and treats in exchange for singing, poetry, and telling jokes.
Irish and Scottish immigrants in America are the ones who revived these traditions in America in the mid-1800s when they moved to the States and brought their costumes and traditions with them, this is what led to what is now known as trick or treating. It took time for Halloween to evolve from a pagan tradition to a secular, family-oriented holiday full of fun activities and yummy candy.
Did you know the origin of the Jack O’ Lantern? Read about the spooky story here.
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