All You Need To Know About…Halloween

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All You Need To Know About…Halloween

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As the end of October approaches, Halloween costumes are being made, houses are being decorated, and candy is being bought. The traditions associated with Halloween, which seem to have been going on forever, actually have their roots in some very different activities.

The origins of Halloween date back to around 2,000 years ago. It was originally celebrated as a Celtic festival called Samhain. Samhain was celebrated in order to appease the ghosts of the dead. The Celts would dress up in costumes as animals or other creatures and dance around a bonfire, sacrificing food or animals to the Celtic deities. Once the Roman Empire conquered the Celtic territories, these traditions were incorporated into the Roman traditions. All Saint’s Day, which is celebrated on November 1st, was expanded to include November 2nd, which was dubbed All Soul’s Day. All Soul’s Day was similar to Samhain and so it was celebrated similarly with costumes and festivities. All Saint’s Day began to be called “All-Hallowsmas”, and the night before All Saint’s Day was declared “All-Hallows Eve”, which became Halloween. So where and how did the traditions like jack-o’-lanterns and trick-or-treating begin and how are they different now, in modern times?

 

Jack-O-Lanterns

Then: The Irish originally carved Jack-O-Lanterns from turnips, potatoes, beets and gourds, and used them to scare away evil spirits from their homes.

Now: Today, people use pumpkins to carve Jack-O-Lanterns. Instead of warding off spirits, they’re used as a fun activity for all ages to showcase their art skills.

 

Trick-or-Treating

Then: Trick-or-treating began with people dressing up in disguises, and then going to people’s houses asking for food.

Now: Now, millions of kids dress up each year on Halloween in a costume and knock on people’s doors to ask for candy and other treats.

 

Candy

Then: Candy was not always the “go-to” symbol of Halloween. In the past, children were almost always given coins, toys, fruit, or pieces of cake as their holiday treat.

Now: It is estimated that Americans spend approximately 2 billion dollars on Halloween candy every year. Candy is the expected treat on Halloween whether you’re trick-or-treating or at a party.

 

Bobbing for Apples:

Then: Back then, since the Roman symbol of love was an apple, young women on All Hallow’s Eve would try to catch an apple (either floating in water or hanging on a string) in between their teeth. It was said that if a girl succeeded she would meet her soulmate.

Now: Now, bobbing for apples is a typical Halloween party game that is used in bets, competitions, and to have some good ol’ Halloween fun.

 

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