History of Halloween
What is the history of Halloween?
As with many modern-day celebrations, Halloween's origin is in pagan traditions and Christian celebrations. In the fifth century B.C., Oct. 31 marked the end of summer and harvest for Celts. The Samhain celebration included darkening of houses and extinguishing fires, to ward off ghosts of the dead who returned to earth that night. Druid priests built huge bonfires where people dressed in animal skins and sacrificed animals. They re-lit their hearth fires from the bonfire to protect them throughout the winter. Celts also paraded around their villages in costume and made lots of noise to scare the ghosts.
Enter the Romans in the first century B.C. At about the same time of year, they celebrated Feralia, commemorating the passing of the dead, and honored the goddess Pomona, whose symbol was an apple. That's why you nearly drowned at parties when you were young.
In the ninth century, Christian leaders wanted to replace Celtic rituals with Christian ones. The Pope named Nov. 1 as All Saints Day (Allhallow-mas in Middle English), and Oct. 31 came to be known as All Hallows Eve. Later, Nov. 2 became All Souls Day, and Christians adopted a tradition similar to the Celt dress-up parades. They went through the villages begging for soul cakes. The more cakes you gave them, the more they would pray for your dead relatives' safe passage to heaven. When the Irish came to America, they brought the ritual with them, including tricks played on stingy residents.
Irish folklore tells of a man named Jack who tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack carved a cross on the trunk so that Satan was trapped. Satan agreed never to tempt Jack again if he let him down. When Jack died he could not get into heaven because he was a trickster, and he couldn't get into hell because he tricked Satan. The devil gave him a hollowed-out turnip with an ember in it to light his way through the dark. In America, the Irish turned the turnip into a pumpkin.
After this answer was published a year ago, a reader called to say I should have included the fact that Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Wittenberg cathedral on Oct. 31, accusing the Catholic church of heresy. One of his protests concerned the Catholic tradition of sainthood, thus he chose the eve of All Saints Day for his act.
All interesting stuff, so do you know of any halloween traditions that are not mentioned? Do you have any family halloween Traditions? Has anything spooky happened to you on Halloween if so we want to know about it, because we're nosy...lol
As a young teenager there were a couple of local traditions
At midnight a girl or boy would light a candle look in a mirror and ask who they were to marry and a the ghostly face of their intended was surposed to hover over their shoulder. I never tried it but school friends swore it worked!
Another was to peel an apple keeping the peel in one piece. then when midnight came you had to throw it over your shoulder and it would land in the First inital of the person you would marry!
But unfortunatly I don't know the history of them
I'll look forward to reading your posts
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