Photo Courtesy Of history.com
‘Tis the season when the thoughts of children of all ages turn to all things dark, mysterious, and sweet. Halloween is just around the corner, with its time honored traditions and long storied past.
Currently, Halloween is big business with more than $2.5 billion spent on costumes each year in America, and add all the sugary sweets and decorations and sales for this fall event reach over $6 billion annually, according to History.com. However, this event has its roots in ancient superstitions and traditions.
The holiday dates back to the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain. The people of Celtic lived over 2,000 years ago in present day Ireland. November 1 indicated to the people that the end of summer had come and that their dark winter was coming, which was associated with human death.
But, on October 31 of every year, the Celtic people would celebrate “Samhain”, the day they believed the ghosts of their deceased would come back to earth for one night to visit. The Celts would leave food and wine at the front of their door steps and to try and keep the ghostly visitors at a distance, and the Celts would don masks when leaving their homes to be ‘mistaken’ as fellow ghosts by the spirited visitors.
In the eighth century, in early Scotland, they started to refer to the evening of this day as “All Hallows Eve” when it was believed that ghosts would appear. Reported History.com
Did you know that it’s not just trick or treating? No? Well, there’s also souling, along with trick or treating and something called Guising.
You’re probably wondering how the pumpkins came into this holiday, well according to thought.co, the word ‘jack`o`lantern literally means’ a man with a lantern. But to the people that preferred tricks, they decided to carve scary faces into the pumpkins whilst putting a candle n to make it look as though it were a real face.
The tradition to “trick” in trick or treating can be traced to “All Souls Days” celebrated on November 2 as “All Souls Days”, the needy in Scotland would beg for a type of pastry called a “Soul Cake,” and in return, these needy would pray for the souls of dead relatives of those who offered the cakes, according to halloweenhistory.com
During the 19 century, Scottish descendants picked up these old traditions, and as a result trick or treating was born
So what is the connection between ghosts and this holiday?
When trick or treating first came about, it was almost all but the tricks. By the 1950’s, the holiday went back to being a family friendly with all the treats involved.
In Guiding, people would dress up in all different types of costumes and accept food, money, win and other goods people were handing out. In exchange they would sing, crack a joke or even recite poetry.
So whether you become a witch, ghost, or goblin, or even a Stormtrooper from Star Wars this Halloween, just know that you are following a long and “hallowed” tradition. Just don’t forget to share your treats with others!