20 terms

History of Halloween-revised

Origins of Halloween
Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
Celtic Costumes
During the celebration, the Celts wore these--which typically consisted of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes.
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
October 31
The day Celts celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Celtic priests thought to be able predict the future on Oct. 31st because the presence of the otherworldly spirits on that night made it easier.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred fires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
Roman Empire
By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. The Roman celebration of Feralia, or the day to commemorate their passing of the dead merged with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.
Bobbing for Apples
Pomona, goddess of fruit and trees was honored by the Roman in late October. The symbol of Pomona is the apple. This, combined with Celtic traditions,probably explains the tradition of this game that is practiced today on Halloween.
Feast of all Martyrs
Pope Boniface IV dedicated the established a day to honor all the Christians massacred before Rome made Christianity its official religion. As centuries passed, the chosen day of celebration moved to the fall.
All Souls Day
Pope Gregory III (731-741) expanded the Feast of all Martrys to include all saints as well as all martyrs. This day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils.
All-Hallows Eve
What Halloween used to be called which came from All Saints Day celebration, which was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas. The "eve" or night before it was October 31, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion.
Soul Cakes
These were given children who went house to house in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. The Roman Catholic church encouraged this as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.
American Colonies
Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.
Native Americans
This group's beliefs were merged with many different European beliefs and customs created a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.
Trick or Treat
After a huge wave of Irish immigrants in the 1840s, Americans took from Irish and English traditions, and began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money,.
Finding A Spouse
American young women in the 19th century believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.
American children
At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.
Modern cost of Halloween
Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on this celebration, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.
Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

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