Halloween#039;s haunting history
We’ve got a
holiday coming up that is a favorite among many people – Halloween. Whether
it’s the delicious candy, the cute and scary costumes, the grinning
jack-o’-lanterns, haunted houses or the fright flicks that take over the
airwaves, Oct. 31 is one popular celebration in America.
So where did
such a crazy tradition come from? Trace the roots of Halloween and you’ll
travel back many centuries…
By the end of
October, ancient societies had harvested their crops and were ready for the
non-growing, or &uot;dead&uot; season.
The first day in
November was called All Hallows Day, or All Hallow Tide, and it was a solemn
time dedicated to the remembrance of loved ones who had passed
It was believed
on All Hallows Day, the dead from the past year would finally discover peace.
However, on the night before, All Hallows Eve, the spirits of the dead were
said to walk the earth one last time.
Along with all the good folks, there
were bound to be some bad spirits roaming around that
To keep those
nasty spirits from entering their homes, folks would dress in disguises in
hopes of scaring the spirits away. And so was born our tradition of dressing
in costumes this time of year.
celebrated All Souls Day. They may have actually originated the custom of
&uot;trick or treating.&uot; The custom of &uot;soulling&uot; involved beggars going from
house to house, asking for treats called &uot;soul cakes.&uot; In return for the
cakes, the beggar promised to say prayers of indulgence for the deceased
relatives of the people giving the cakes.
were considered critical to ensure the quick passage of souls to
ghosties and punkins, oh my!
orange fellow known as the Jack-‘O-Lantern actually comes from an Irish
folktale about a crafty fellow named Jack who tricked the devil, but also
angered God in the process.
The upshot of the tale is Jack was condemned to
walk the earth, with only a candle inside a squash to light the way.
time, a pumpkin came to replace the squash.
came on the scene from the days of the Puritans in America, who viewed Wiccan
celebrations of the October harvest as &uot;evil&uot;. They, of course, were also
strongly anti-witch in attitude.
come to us from the days of All Hallows Eve; spiders and bats are simply
creepy creatures that enhance the spooky spirit of the occasion, and
skeletons, representing death, take the story of Halloween full circle, back
to its origins as a celebration of life and death.