Halloween goes back some 2,000 years ago and started with the ancient Celtics in what is now known as Ireland. The holiday they celebrated was called Samhain but pronounced “sow him” and was held on November 1st .
People believed that the night before Samhain that the dead returned as ghosts to wreak havoc on the locals stock and crops among other things. So they would leave food and wine to keep roaming spirits at bay.
At night they would wear masks so that they could trick the spirits into believing that were also ghosts and they even believed they could foresee their neighbour’s future fortunes. The costumes of the day consisted of mainly animal heads and skins. 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 43 A.D., the Roman Empire ruled the majority of Celtic territory. During that time two holidays of Roman origin were intertwined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. Which is where the incorporation of “bobbing” for apples that is still a Halloween party favorite today comes from.
By the 1800 with the influx of English and Irish immigrants Samhain is now appears in North America. These new Americans, helped to reintroduce the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans dressing up in costumes and go door to door asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.
By the turn of the century Halloween had turned into a day the whole community would come out to celebrate. There would be large parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes were everywhere.
At this point religious and political figures were urging the Moms of the day to take out everything frightening and scary out of the festivities I know… crazy right, but because of this, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.
By the 1920’s it appears that the teens of that time managed to turn Halloween into a night of mischief and vandalism that would continue into the late 40’s.
By the 50’s things had smoothed out and Halloween was emerging as a family and community oriented celebration and the rebirth of trick or treating had begun as a way of whole communities were able to affordably provide candy for the kids.
Origin of Trick or Treating
The North American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” dates back as early as All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the celebrations, the poor peasants would beg for food and a lot of homes they went to the people would give them pastries called “soul cakes” and in return they promised to pray for the family’s dead relatives. This practice, then referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given beer, cash and food.
History of Halloween
When most people think of Halloween they think of parades, dressing up, bobbing for apples and other family fun oriented activities. But we bet you don’t know the true origins of Halloween.