Special education articles, higher education

The History of Halloween

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 in Edu

Now that Halloween is behind us and that hopefully, we all managed to overcome our sugar rushes, we can focus on the symbolism on this holiday, how it appeared and how it became an integrated part of our culture. If you take a look at some Halloween costumes on greathalloweencostume.com, you will see that nowadays, there are few rules when it comes to dressing up for this holiday. However, things weren’t always like this.  We always celebrate Halloween on October 31, without knowing many things about the origin of this popular holiday. If you are interested in finding more about how this holiday took place in the beginning and how it developed its strange traditions and customs, learn more in the following article.

Celtic legend

The legend and customs of Halloween date back hundreds of years, long before the Christian era. Many children from different countries continue to perpetuate this very fun tradition by wearing scary costumes and going trick and treating from door to door in search of candy or other gifts.
3000 years ago, the Celtic year didn’t end on December 31 as now, but on October 31. And that last night was the night of Samhain, the god of death. The nights become longer during this period and according to the legend, the ghosts of the dead started to visit the living but these spirits were not all friendly and caring. Even Samhain, the god of the dead roamed the Earth to collect the souls of those who died during the year.

The God Samhain

Celtic Samhain customs have continued to develop over the centuries in Europe, especially in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It so happens that in the XIII century, Pope Gregory III decreed that all the saints to be celebrated on November 1. Furthermore, in the eleventh century, Abbot Odilo of Cluny chooses 2 November as a day of the dead. Thus the ancient Celtic customs came to mingle with new Christian customs. Over the years, the Celtic traditions turned into a party for the children. They dressed up as ghosts and went knocking on houses to get candy. In the 1840s, a terrible famine struck Ireland, and the Irish immigrated to the United States bringing with them Halloween customs.

Pumpkin Jack

The carving pumpkin traditions come straight from an Irish legend. This legend tells the story of Jack, a very stingy man who cares only about his wealth and enjoys drinking beers at the pub. One evening in an Irish pub, he met the Devil and made fun of him. When Jack died, he could not go to heaven because of his greed but he could not go to hell either for the devil has not forgiven his mockery. Since then, Jack is plunged into darkness, doomed to wander between two worlds. He tries to make himself noticeable with a hollowed turnip lantern-shaped head, with a coal burning inside.That’s why we place candles in pumpkins and try to make them look scary.