This is Halloween!

Halloween is that awesome holiday that only comes around once a year but throws everyone into a tizzy. When you think of Halloween: costumes, candy and scary decorations flood your mind. But have you ever thought, why do we celebrate Halloween? Where did it come from?

Well, I’m here to answer those questions with a bit of HISTORY! 

The origin of Halloween started almost over 2,000 years ago as a Celtic festival in the areas that are now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. Its original name was Samhain (pronounced: sow-in). The festival was usually celebrated on November 1, as the start of a new year; it commemorated the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. It’s also that time of the year, where the Celtics are associated with the dead. According to History.com, “Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth,” which is kind of similar to Dia de los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead).

On the 31st, the Celtics would leave food and wine on their door steps to keep the spirits away and wear masks so that ghosts wouldn’t recognize them. Years passed, and the Christian church changed Samhain into All Saints Day, or All-Hallows, in the eighth century. The night before October 31 became All-Hallows’ Eve, which would eventually be called what we all know today: Halloween.

Fun fact: Halloween didn’t come to America until an influx of immigrants, particularly the Irish, because of the Potato Famine in 1846, came to settle in the United States. They helped popularize the holiday nationally. By the 20th century, Halloween took off to become what we know as today in our society.

Yet, now that we know how Halloween became to be, where did its traditions, like trick-or-treating, come from?

History.com says that the tradition of trick-or-treating can be traced to “the practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” [which was] …taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.” Children did this on All-Souls’ Day, a day known to commemorate All Souls, the Holy Souls, or the Faithful Departed; that is, the souls of Christians who have died, according to Wikipedia.

The tradition of dressing up goes back to the Celtic festival Samhain, where Celtics would dress up to hide themselves from less than friendly spirits. With its coming to America, dressing in costume became more modernized and turned into what we see today.

That is Halloween, and its history. 

Have a happy Halloween!