Learn all about the history of Halloween with A Girl For All Time!
Halloween or Hallows-eve is one of our favourite holidays. Taking place on the 31st of October it originally marked the night before All Saints Day and the official end of summer. Nowadays it’s also a night for dressing up, decorating our homes and eating some delicious candy.
Today we carve own pumpkins and dress up to scare our friends and family. But how did Halloween start and why do we celebrate it today?
The history of Halloween
Halloween is based on the ancient Celtic (Irish and Scottish) festival of ‘Samhain’ (try saying it out loud, it’s pronounced Sa-wen). The ancient Celts lived over 2,000 years ago! They believed that Halloween was the night when spirits would be able to return to earth and cause havoc. It was also supposed to be the night when priests could make predictions for the coming winter. To tell each other’s fortunes people built bonfires and dressed up (just like today!). Dressing up in scary costumes was also adopted as a Halloween tradition to scare away any evil spirits.
Halloween, as we know it today, was mainly developed after coming to America in the 19th century with the large wave of Irish immigration. Here traditions such as Trick or Treating and Halloween parties replaced the original religious and superstitious elements.
Other traditions have also developed over time! One of our favourites is the story of ‘Stingy Jack’.
Did you know that Jack O’Lanterns were originally based on the story of a drunken farmer called ‘Stingy Jack’? Jack was a lost soul who couldn’t enter heaven or hell and so was stuck on earth. He fashioned a Jack O’Lantern out of a turnip to guide his way through the dark winter nights. Those celebrating Halloween began putting Jack O’Lanterns outside their homes to guide any lost souls on Halloween night.
What’s your favourite Halloween tradition?