Halloween may bring to mind costumes and candy or horror films and haunted houses, but do you know where Halloween comes from? Halloween is actually from the ancient Celtic times. There are three traditions that have made the tradition of Halloween.
The first tradition is the Celtic Festival of Samhain. The Celts celebrated “summer’s end”, also known as Samhain, by slaughtering cattle and feasting. The Celts believed that the ancestral dead rose with the ghosts and demons on this night, and that they held the secrets to afterlife and the future. According to Geo Athena, “Celtic tradition tells us that part of the process of entering spiritual awareness is drawing our attention away from fear” [B].
The second tradition is known as the Roman Festival of Pomona that was celebrated on November first. Pomona is the goddess of orchards and harvest therefore they had feasts with many apples and nuts. This is why we still use apples and nuts during the holiday [A].
The third tradition is All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. When Christianity spread in Greece, the priests tried to get rid of the Celtic Festival of Samhain because the pagans celebrated this tradition. All Saints’ Day started because of Pope Boniface IV; he made this day for early Christians who died for their beliefs. [A]
Halloween was not accepted in North America until the 19th Century. In the beginning, teenagers did not go out and “trick-or-treat” because it was thought to be improper [C]. Halloween as we now know it did not appear until much later in the 1930s.
To learn more about Halloween and how it originated, check out these sources:
[A] Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History. Bannatyne, Wesley Pratt.
[B] Trevarthen, Geo Athena. "The Celtic Origins Of Halloween Transcend Fear." Phi Kappa Phi Forum 90.3 (2010): 6-7. Business Source Premier. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
[C] Rogers, Nicholas. Halloween : From Pagan Ritual To Party Night. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
International Business, Times. "Halloween History, Roman And Christian Influences." International Business Times 31 Oct. 2012: Regional Business News. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.