The Spooky Past of Halloween

The+Spooky+Past+of+Halloween

Jenny Pfeifer, Journalist

 

Did you already know who the Celts were and how they were a big part of Halloween's origins?

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   Spooky season is here! Costumes, candy, and maybe even all sorts of tricks on the night of Oct. 31. But what most people may wonder is how this marvelous holiday/tradition started. 

     “The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.” according to Ancient Origins of Halloween by  History.com editors. 

     On Oct. 31, the Celts (who lived roughly 2,000 years ago) celebrated Samhain. Samhain is/was a celebration surrounded by the belief that the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth. The Celts also celebrated November 1st, for it signified their new Celtic year. This day would mark the beginning of a cold, harsh winter, and the ending of a warm summer, plus its harvest. This time of year was also known for when death was at its peak.

 

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred”

— Ancient Origins of Halloween by History.com editors

  

     Furthermore, the Celts also thought that the presence of the spirits made it easier for druids (Celtic priests) to predict the future. These predictions were made to comfort people during the harsh winters.

      To illustrate their respect, people would gather, burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities from large and sacred bonfires that the druids built. For this celebration, Celts would wear animal heads and skins as costumes, trying to tell each other’s fortunes.

     The last part of Halloween that makes it what it is today is the trick-or-treating. Candy and Halloween were not associated together until the late 1900’s. America essentially followed in Europe’s footsteps and went door to door in costumes asking for food or money, which eventually led to them asking for candy.  It wasn’t until 1951, that the common phrase “trick-or-treat” was established.

     Eventually, Halloween progressed into what it is today: A day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, dressing up in costumes, festive gatherings, and more!