Halloween, one of America’s favorite holiday. So what’s it all about and how did this come to be a holiday?
Over about 2,000 years ago, the Celts who lived in what is now Ireland celebrated New Year’s Day on November 1 but they believed that the night before the New Year (October 31) was a time when the living and the dead came together.
Then later, more than a thousand years ago, the Christian church named November 1 All Saints Day, the day was a special “holy day” to honor the saints and other significant people who have died for their religion. This night (October 31) was also called Hallows Eve and later, it was changed to Halloween.
Europeans at that time had also believed that the spirits of the dead would visit the earth on Halloween. They would wear costumes that looked like ghosts or other evil creatures and that that if they dressed in them, the spirits would also think they were dead and not harm them. This tradition was carried on in America by immigrating Europeans. In Europe, people would carry lanterns made from turnips and would display them on their doorsteps at Halloween to ward off evil spirits. In America, pumpkins (Jack O’Lanterns) were used since they were considered to be much easier to carve out and lanterns would be placed inside them like they still do today.
Today, Halloween is primarily a fun day and activity for children. They dress up in costumes like people did a thousand years ago and instead of worrying about evil spirits, they go from house to house to “trick-or-treat”. To read more about the origins of trick-or-treating, click here.
So there you have it!
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