“Behind the Candy and Costumes: A History of Halloween”

Posted on November 1, 2011

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Halloween history

Masks, makeup, costumes and candy are all around. It’s fall and the temperature is starting to drop. It is seven at night and kids are running around going door to door searching for their favorite candy. Teens are gathered around a fire telling ghost stories and eating s’mores and candy. Its many students’ favorite season and Christmas is right around the corner.

The Romans were the ones who first came up with Halloween. The Romans worshipped several gods. On October 31st, a special feast was held in honor of the Pomona (goddess of the fruit trees.) Years later the Druids (an ancient order of Celtic priests in Britain) made this feast an even larger celebration by also honoring Samhain (lord of the dead.) This was usually held on November 1st. So they decided to honor both Pomona and Samhain on October 31st and November 1st.

The holiday of Halloween soon traveled all over the world. Many countries began to celebrate it, and it became many people’s favorite holiday. People quickly gained an immense love for the ghoulish holiday.

Irish and Scottish immigrants carried the tradition of Halloween to North America. They had festivals for Halloween and all the people would wear masks and costumes in an attempt to either mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

Many people believed that on October 31st, they were surrounded by strange spirits, ghosts, witches, fairies, and elves, which came out to hurt them. They also believed that cats were holy animals; they considered them to represent people who lived formerly, and as punishment for evil deeds were reincarnated as a cat. All this explains why witches, ghosts, and cats are a part of Halloween today.

The custom of trick-or-treating and the use of “jack-o’-lanterns” came from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers would go from house to house, begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods to be used at the village Halloween celebration. They would promise good luck to those who gave them goods, and made threats to the people who would not provide treats. They told the people, “You treat me, or else I will trick you!”

Many people look at Halloween as a bad thing. They view it as an “evil holiday.” Certain people and religions believe that Halloween is when all the ghosts roam around and the veil between our world and the spirit world is the thinnest. Others feel that Halloween should be viewed as a positive holiday when kids trick or treat and dress up in cute little costumes. Halloween is a fun holiday; yes, certain things about it can be spooky, but it brings joy to billions of children across the world, showing that this holiday should be loved by all.

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