History of the Halloween
By National Geographic Channel.
From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is a patchwork holiday, stitched together with a cultural, religious and a cult traditions and spans centuries.
It all began with the Celts, a people whose culture had spread across Europe; more than 2ooo years ago. October 31st was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season and the festival called “Sowing”. That night also marked the Celtic New Year. It was considered a time between years. A magical time when the ghost of the dead walked the Earth.
“It was the time when the veil between death and life was supposed to be at its finis”. On sowing the villagers gathered and lit huge bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living. But as the catholic churches influence grew in Europe it frowned on the pegging rituals like Sowing.
In the 7th century the Vatican began to merge it with the church sanction holiday. So November 1st was designated all saints’ day to honor martyrs and the deceased faithful. …..
“Both of these holidays had to do with the “after life” and about survival after death. It was a calculated move on the part of the Church to earn more people into The Fall.” All Saints’ Day was known then as Hallowmas. Hallow means holly, or saintly. So the translation is roughly “mass of the saints”. The night before October 31st was “All Hallows’s Eve’, which gradually morphed into “Halloween”.
The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of 1840s. They brought several of their holiday customs with them, including “barbing for apples” and playing tricks on neighbors, like removing gates from the front of houses. The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn’t be recognized.
But over the years the traditions of harmless tricks grew into outright vandalism. “Back in the 1930s it really became a dangerous holiday. I mean there was such a hooliganism and vandalism. Trick or treating was originally an extortion deal: give us candy or we’ll trash your house.”
Storekeepers and neighbors began getting treats or bribes to stop the tricks and children were encouraged to travel door to door for treat as an alternative to trouble making.
By the late 30s the “trick or treat” became a holiday greeting. .
Halloween History Wordsearch