For adults and children alike, Halloween is one of America’s most popular holidays. But how did this holiday originate, and what lends it its uniquely spooky characteristics? Read this brief history of Halloween to find out.
The origins of what we call Halloween can be traced back to Celtic traditions from over 2,000 years ago. The Ancient Celts marked November 1st the beginning of the new year. On October 31st, they celebrated Samhain, when they believed the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On this night, the Celts dressed in costumes and ghosts of the dead where said to walk amongst the living and lend druids special powers of divination.
By the year 1000, Romans has conquered most of the area occupied by the Celts, but Celtic traditions didn’t disappear. Eventually, the Catholic Church designated November 1st as All Saint’s Day, a holiday to honor the dead that included practices such as going door-to-door asking for food—sound familiar?
Today, many believe this was an attempt by the church to replace the Celtic tradition with a church-approved celebration. All Saint’s Day was also referred to as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas and the night before—the traditional night of the Celtic Samhain—became known as All-Hallows Eve, or Halloween.
Halloween didn’t catch on right away in colonial America because of the strict form of Protestantism that prevailed, but as the number of immigrants in America increased, European traditions blended with Native American practices to create a distinctly American Halloween holiday.
By the beginning of the 20th century, as Halloween grew in popularity and became increasingly family-oriented, most of the religious and supernatural elements of the holiday faded. Clearly, though, not all of the spookiness has been removed from Halloween, and we still see many traces of ancient traditions today.
And if you’re looking to treat yourself this fall season, stop by Mountaineer Mitsubishi today!by