Posts Tagged ‘Halloween history’

Where Did Halloween Come From?

Come back this weekend! I will be posting a couple of funny videos. I know that I just made your day, but please hold back the loud cheers out of respect for those around you..

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Somewhat Special Edition:

QUESTION FROM A STUDENT

(Click HERE to view other questions)

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QUESTION: Where did Halloween come from?

I don’t know. Google it! Okay…just kidding, I’ll google it for you…

No! This is not a post about what Christians should think about Halloween. You have to make your own decision. I am just presenting the facts. I will not give my opinion on here (even though it’s my blog and I can if I want to :) ). If you want to know my opinion, feel free to ask and I will tell you outside of the blog world. If you can really care less about the history, then scroll down for some interesting Halloween facts!

Here we go:

halloween_image.jpgHalloween can be traced back through history over 2,000 years to the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland (not to be confused with the Boston Celtics and it’s actually pronounced “keltics”). The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it.

The Celtics (no…no…no…don’t forget it’s “keltics” not “seltics”) celebrated their new year on November 1st, along with the United Kingdom and Northern France. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On thesamhain_1.jpg night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain (pronounced sah-ween), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. These prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. Also, they believed that these spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to “appease” these wandering spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the ghostly wanderers. This is where the “trick or treat” tradition got it’s roots.

Turnips (pumpkins were eventually the desired subsitute) were cut with faces representing demons and was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits. It was said that if a demon or such were to encounter something as fiendish looking as themselves that they’d run away in terror,thus sparing the houses dwellers from the ravages of dark entities. They would have been carried around the village boundaries or left outside the home to burn through the night.

bonfire.jpgTo commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebrationsnap_apple_web.jpg was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

You get the picture…over time as different cultures collided, the night of October 31st came to have different meanings to different people. Either way, there seemed to always be a connection with the dead.

Immigrants that came to America brought their different traditions with them. For the most part they kept some of the same ideas from their ancestors, but practiced them more as a “party” and “celebration”. Later, it turned into community parties and a way for neighborhoods to unite.

halloween13.jpgWhile there are still people in the world that take this holiday seriously and use it to “connect with the dead”, for the most part it is just another reason for people to have parties and share candy. Parents just love to dress their kids up in dinosaur costumes that don’t fit.

Here are some other facts: (Yes…I know this has been long!) :)

- Halloween is second only to Christmas in spending. Consumers will spend over $2.5 Billion during Halloween. That’s a whole lot of candy, costumes, decorations, and party goods.

- Halloween is the third biggest party day of the year behind New Year’s and Super Bowl Sunday

- 86% of Americans decorate their homes at Halloween.

- Approximately 82% of children and 67% of adults take part in Halloween festivities every year.

- The official Orange and Black colors of Halloween came from orange being associated with fall harvest and black symbolizing darkness and death.

- More than 93% of children, under the age of 12, will go out trick-or-treating.

- 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids’ Halloween trick-or-treat bags.

- Over 10% of pet owners dress their pets in Halloween costumes.