A Halloween History

Written by TeligentIP Guest Writers: Kevin O. Dionio and Janika Merquita

 

Halloween is a holiday that is made up by cultural, religious and occult traditions that span centuries. From communion with the dead and to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is indeed celebrated by people of all ages today.

 It all began with the Celts.

The Celts culture had spread across Europe more than 2,000 years ago. In a festival called Samhain, it was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season on the 31st of October. That day also marked the Celtic New Year and a time where they believed the ghosts of the dead walked the earth, believing that the line between life and death on that day was at its thinnest. During the festival, villagers gathered and lit large bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living.

However, as the Catholic Church’s influence grew in Europe, it affected the pagan rituals like Samhain. In the 7th century, the Vatican began to merge it with a church-sanctioned holiday, so November 1st was chosen as All Saints’ Days to honor martyrs and the deceased faithful. Both holidays had to do with the afterlife and about survival after death. It was a calculated move on the part of the church to bring more people into the fold. All Saints’ Day was known then as “Hallowmas” where “hallow” means holy or saintly so the translation is roughly mass of the saints. The night before, October 31st, was All Hallows’ Eve which gradually morphed into what we know now as, Halloween.

Halloween in America

The Halloween holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the potato famine of the 1840’s. They brought several of their holiday customs including bobbing for apples and doing tricks on neighbors like removing gates from the front of the houses. The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn’t be recognized. However, the tradition of harmless tricks grew into chaos and vandalism. In the 1930’s, it became a dangerous holiday that trick-or-treating was originally an extortion deal. It was like, “give us candy or we will trash your house” so neighbors and storekeepers began giving treats or bribes to stop the tricks. The treats had encouraged kids to go door to door to claim their sweet treats and distracted them from the tricks. As the years passed, giving treats to kids in masks and costumes on the night of October 31st, became a holiday tradition.

Halloween Fun Fact!

Did you know that the first Jack O’ Lanterns were actually made from turnips?

Yes! Jack put the piece of coal in to a carved-out turnip to make a lantern to light up his way!

From everyone at TeligentIP, we wish you a safe and spooky Halloween!