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Haunted! The History Of Halloween

Oct 06, 2014

When you think about Halloween what are the first images to come into your mind? Most of us associate this spooky holiday with trick or treating, pumpkins as lanterns and all sorts of costumes, especially those of the ghostly variety.

But most of the things we know about Halloween are pretty new traditions. To find the origins of Halloween we have to go back much further and cross several seas to a country called Ireland.

History

The early Irish people were Celtic tribes who practiced paganism, an early type of religion. The Irish Celts celebrated two important festivals, one honoring the arrival of spring (think maypoles) and the other celebrating the end of the harvest and arrival of winter on November 1.

October 31st was dangerous for the living according to Ancient CeltsOctober 31st was dangerous for the living according to Ancient Celts
 

The ancient Celtic tribes believed that the dividing line between the living and the dead became dangerous for the living on October 31 when the weather turned cold, leading to sickness and damage to crops. So they tried to ward off what they thought were evil spirits by lighting bonfires where the bones of livestock were thrown. Just like modern Halloween, the Celts wore masks and costumes to confuse the evil spirits and make them think they were one of them. We can start seeing the beginnings of modern-day Halloween here.

All Saint's Day

Meanwhile, more and more people were becoming Christians, and celebrating a festival called All Saint’s Day, also known as All Hallows or Hallowmass (“Hallow” means “Holy”) that took place on May 13. The day before All Hallows was called All Hallows Even, which, shortened, becomes Hallowe'en (and, eventually, is spelled Halloween like today).

The day after All Saint's Day is All Soul's Day and commemorates those who have died but haven’t yet gone to Heaven. In many parts of the world, especially South America and other Catholic countries this day is also known as the Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead altarDay of the Dead altar
 

In the ninth century a guy named Pope Gregory IV moved All Saint's Day from May 13 to November 1 – the same day as that old Pagan festival we talked about before. Gradually, many of the Pagan traditions started to be incorporated into the Christian holiday, especially the stuff about warding off evil spirits with costumes and masks.

Carving Jack-o-Lanterns wasn't a Halloween tradition til the 1900sCarving Jack-o-Lanterns wasn't a Halloween tradition til the 1900s
 

The first time we hear about a more modern-day Halloween, with costumes and trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins, is the early 1900s. In Canada, in a town called Kingston, the local paper reported in 1911 that it was normal for younger kids to go into the streets on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors and asking for nuts and candies in exchange for rhymes and songs.

Have Your Say

What is your fave part of Halloween? Let us know!

 

114 Comments

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Random in the forums

FireWolfRain
Hmmm. I like it! Better from  the last one. :) The rhymes are nice, too. 
reply 3 minutes
shae508
"LAZY778" wrote:I like that one. Hmmm how about one about a wolf perspective! :) The Hunt Running and running Wind flies through fur Runny snout Catching the sent of prey Fresh... And of so scared Trying to run And escape Around and under The trees and logs No escape My brothers and sisters We surround it It chitter and chatters in fear I leap Make the fatal bite Blood fills my snout and mouth Another victory And another night of dinner For me and my family 
reply 11 minutes
shae508
"FireWolfRain" wrote:I got a different one. If you have time and if you don't feel too stressed out or sick. Write a SEQUEL to one of my poems about a girl gnawing on a stick until it reaches her fingers. Be creative. :) Gnawing Away by FireWolfRainBrittle stick shoved in my mouthFreshly doused in mudWho cares? They shout, as they reappear in my nightmaresNervous, shaky, definitively hasty. Teeth going down, jaws like yummy pastry.No taste, not exactly wakey. Chew, chew, chew. Not a beaver they say. Each piece flying everywhere, some down my throat, I'm the local goat. Eat everything, all the way through. Horribly torn, part by part. Not the employee from Wal-mart? ( Alex from Target? ) Gnawing forever, to the bone. Realized now that I'm at the end. And that the stick is actually my own. Raw skin scaring away friends. ( Sorry about the gross image at the lastpart. ) (Hmm okay..) A Bit too Much Guess I went a bit far Bit off more then I can chew Didn't really mean too If they weren't so loud So MEAN I wrap my fingers in gauze Is it my fault? All my nerves  In the end I went too far Trying to do so much Just to fall Now I'm stressed A freaking mess Bloody fingers Stressed mind All mine In the end It was just a bit,,, Much (Eh..this is kinda alright. I tried. I never like my endings...I hope you like it!)
reply 16 minutes
FireWolfRain
I got a different one. If you have time  and if you don't feel too stressed out  or sick.  Write a SEQUEL to one of my poems  about a girl gnawing on a stick until  it reaches her fingers. Be creative. :)  Gnawing Away by FireWolfRain Brittle stick shoved in my mouth Freshly doused in mud Who cares?  They shout, as they reappear in my nightmares Nervous, shaky, definitively hasty.  Teeth going down, jaws like yummy pastry. No taste, not exactly wakey.  Chew, chew, chew. Not a beaver they say.  Each piece flying everywhere, some down my throat,  I'm the local goat.  Eat everything, all the way through.  Horribly torn, part by part.  Not the employee from Wal-mart? ( Alex from Target? )  Gnawing forever, to the bone.  Realized now that I'm at the end.  And that the stick is actually my own.  Raw skin scaring away friends.  ( Sorry about the gross image at the last part. )
reply 36 minutes
iamalive
iamalive posted in General:
was brunostar locked like cmon man
reply about 1 hour

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