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The History of Halloween (Samhain) Through The Ages

Updated on September 3, 2013

The Long History of Halloween

Halloween's history goes back to more than two thousand years ago when the holiday was celebrated by the ancient people, who celebrated it as "Samhain." Halloween is known by other names, such as: All Hollow's Eve and All Saint's Day. Samhain is pronounced (sow-en). The colors of Halloween are black, brown, and orange. The origin of Halloween goes back to the ancient Celtics, who celebrated Samhain. Samhain was a festival, where activities of the ancient Celtics included wearing costumes to ward off bad ghosts. Bad ghosts were thought to come back to the earth along with the good ghosts, to cause a lot trouble and havoc for the living. The ancient Celtic people would celebrate Samhain by lighting bonfires, in order, to ward off the bad ghosts. Summer would come to a close at the end, and then, it would be time to harvest the crops, so people would gather together to celebrate the end of the harvest, just before the long, cold winters would set in. The end of the harvest was often associated with death, and the Celtic people believed that bad ghosts could come back to earth to haunt them, and cause a lot of havoc. The ancient Celtics believed that the ghosts (good and bad), were the deceased returning back to the earth. Halloween originated from different religions and, of course, pagan beliefs, and Halloween has seen changes through the ages, but still many of the traditions are the same, for instance: carving pumpkins (originally turnips were used), bobbing for apples, treats (trick-or-treating for candy now a-days), monsters, ghosts and goblins, etc...




Wacky Witch Riding Her Broomstick

A Wacky Witch Riding Her Broomstick on Halloween Night.
A Wacky Witch Riding Her Broomstick on Halloween Night. | Source

Jack o Lantern and Black Cat

A Jack o Lantern and Black Cat
A Jack o Lantern and Black Cat | Source

Halloween in America

Halloween became a tradition in America a long time ago, but in the beginning, Halloween was not so popular. It's popularity has grown a lot through the years to today, though. In America, people long ago, were celebrating Halloween by telling ghost stories, and there was much mischief making of all kinds. Earlier Americans would celebrate the harvest, have dances and parties. People would dress up in costumes and go house to house, asking for food or money, which would later become America's tradition of trick-or-treating. The tradition of trick-or-treating was also known as guising. Trick-or-treating may have its origins in Irish and English traditions of long ago.

In the late 1800's there was a movement for Halloween to become a "Holiday." Today Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday, after Christmas.

A Squirrel and Halloween Candy

A Squirrel Holding Halloween Candy
A Squirrel Holding Halloween Candy | Source

The Symbols of Halloween

There are many symbols that represent Halloween, which are haunted houses, ghosts, goblins, pumpkins, cats (especially black cats), the colors: black, brown and orange, the harvest, the moon, and others, which includes the dead, as well, that are all symbols of Halloween. The origin of the Jack o' lantern was believed to come from an old Irish folklore about a stingy man, whose name was Jack, who had tricked the devil too many times. Because of this, Jack wasn't allowed to enter heaven or hell. The first Jack o' lanterns were carved from turnips, which were hollowed out, but, later on in time, pumpkins were used. Pumpkins were a lot bigger than turnips, and they were much easier to get, because they were much more plentiful than turnips.

Halloween Witch

Halloween Witch
Halloween Witch | Source

Halloween: Good and/or Bad

Halloween in the 1950s and 1960s seemed rather safe than it does today. Halloween is lots of fun dressing in costumes and going trick-or-treating for candy, especially many years ago, when the news didn't report stories about razor blades in candy apples, or chocolate bars laced with drugs meant to kill. Halloween doesn't sound like fun with all of the dangers that are out there potentially harming or killing some innocent soul or souls out there. Halloween can be good and/or bad. People can't be too careful when it comes to the lives of their little ghosts or goblins. Halloween is, also, known as "Hell-Night" when older teenagers go around causing troubles. Some of the troubles caused are soaping windows, throwing eggs at houses, toilet-papering properties, and destroying or vandalizing properties. Halloween can be good or it can be bad.

Cute Kitties Begging for Halloween Candy

Happy Halloween in 2013!

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