It’s almost October. That means the first of the fall holidays is just around the corner. Halloween. Have you ever wondered where these holidays and traditions come from? Just in doing a bit of reading over the good ‘ol Internet I came across some interesting information. Did you know that The Halloween Traditions began by the Celtic Druids that lived in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France. It was technically their New Years Eve as they began their year on November 1st. They believed that the spirits of those that had passed before them came back to the earth the night before the new year and caused trouble and damaged crops. They lit HUGE bonfires and tried to predict the future. When the celebration was over they took the flame from the sacred bonfire and re-lit their hearths with it to protect them from the cold of the coming winter.
Then the Romans took over…. They combined their fall festivities with those of the druids. Feralia and Pomona. The first was the traditional time that the Romans celebrated the dead and the second was a worship of the goddess of fruit and trees. Which of course were ripe for the picking this time of year for those who lived in a world dependent on the fall harvest. This mixed with the Druids celebration made for a great game we still play today… Now its just Bobbing for Apples.
When Halloween came to America, it was through the combined different European ethnicity mixed with the Native Americans and they would have community parties and dress up and tell stories of the dead. But “Halloween” wasn’t quite celebrated until late in the 19th century.
It was popularized by the Irish immigrants coming into America. The new Americans would dress in costume and go around asking for food and money which is where today’s “trick or treat” originated. It became more popular in the 1950’s as Halloween was directed more towards children and community than anything else. It was believed that parents could avoid being “tricked” if they gave out small treats to the neighborhood children.
Now a days I only remember the parties our parents threw for us and the fun we had getting bags full of candy, and the elaborate time my mother spent on my costumes. All in all Halloween has developed over the years into a community based holiday mainly aimed toward children… or those who just cling to the nostalgia of how Halloween used to be.
Best part of Halloween???… all the chocolate, or the baked pumpkin seeds.