The Truth About The Origins Of Halloween
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The Truth About The Origins Of Halloween

"Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death." -Folklorist, John Santino


We all know Halloween as the holiday when we dress up, watch scary movies and eat more Halloween candy than any adult ever should. But Halloween has a really interesting history that most of us don't know.

Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off the ghosts. Samhain marked the end of summer and the harvest. This was also the day the Celts believed the ghosts of the dead returned to the earth.

They would leave open their doors hoping good spirits would come into their homes. Some believed that the spirits would be entertained by the living and others thought if they dressed up as a ghost, goblin or witch, they could avoid being possessed by the ghosts.

When November 1st became All Saints Day, a lot of those traditions were incorporated into the traditions of Samhain. This is what would come to be known as All Hallows Eve, a day honoring all the saints that didn't have their own holiday. On this day, many churches would hold vigils and people would prepare for the day by fasting and praying.

In America, the celebration of Halloween was limited because of the strong Protestant beliefs.

After some time, the church incorporated many Christian beliefs into the holiday and the European ethnic beliefs and the beliefs of the Native Americans meshed and formed something very similar to what we know as Halloween today. This includes telling ghost stories, telling each other's fortunes, dancing and singing.

Halloween really started to flourish in American during the Irish Potato Famine when millions of Irish immigrated to America.

By the 1900s, everyone in America was having Halloween parties and letting their kids go trick-or-treating. Now the holiday is mainly centered around community events and less around the original tradition of honoring the dead. Even though we don't give it much attention these days, Halloween is much more interesting than parties and costumes.

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