THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE TRICKS AND THE TREATS
THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN THE STORY BEHIND THE TRICKS AND THE TREATS BY: DALTON RANKIN
Halloween is thought to originate with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off ghosts. The Celts lived nearly 2,000 years ago in today’s Ireland. The United Kingdom and northern France celebrated the New Year on November 1. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of harvest and the dark, cold winter. This time of year was associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31 the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead were blurred. In addition to causing trouble, the Celts thought the ghosts made it easier for the Celtic priests to predict the future. The Celtic Priests built huge bonfires, where the people burned crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. When the celebration was over they re-lit their hearth fires, which they put out earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter. By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire conquered the majority of the Celtic land. Two Roman festivals then were combined with the celebration of Samhain. Pope Gregory III made November 2, All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain. The night before began to be called All-hallows Eve, which later came to Halloween.
When Halloween came to America is was very limited in the Northern colonies besides in Maryland and the southern colonies. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not celebrated around the country. Then in the second half of the nineteenth century immigrants flooded the U.S. and they brought their Halloween traditions with them. This is when people began to dress up in costumes and went house to house for food and money. In the late 1800s, parties were common to celebrate Halloween. In the 1920s and 1930s vandalism was popular within towns. By the 1950s vandalism was limited and the holiday was directed toward the younger people of our nation. This is when trick-or-treating was revived. Trick-or-treating dates back to the early All Souls’ Day when poor citizens would beg for soul cakes in return the poor citizens would pray for the givers dead relatives. Halloween has grown immensely since then and continues to grow. Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween. It made the country’s second largest commercial holiday.
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