Why Do We Celebrate Halloween?
Growing up, I always looked forward to Halloween. The costumes, the candy, the spooky stories… but have you ever stopped to think about why we celebrate this holiday? Halloween isn’t just about dressing up and trick-or-treating. It has deep historical roots that date back thousands of years.
Where Did Halloween Originate?
Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived over 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, the UK, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. They believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
How Did Halloween Become Popular in the US?
When I first moved to the US, I was amazed at how big Halloween was here. But did you know it wasn’t always this way? The celebration of Halloween was limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. However, as different ethnic groups and cultures meshed, an American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest. By the late 1800s, the tradition of Halloween was firmly established in American culture.
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins?
One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving pumpkins. But why do we do it? The tradition of carving pumpkins goes back to the Celts. They would carve faces into turnips and place them in windows to ward off harmful spirits. When Irish immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips. Thus, the tradition of carving pumpkins, or “jack-o’-lanterns,” was born.
Is Halloween Just About Scary Things?
While Halloween is often associated with ghosts, ghouls, and all things spooky, it’s also a time for community and celebration. It’s a chance for us to come together, share stories, and enjoy the company of our loved ones. So, next time you’re picking out a costume or planning a Halloween party, remember the rich history behind this holiday and the many ways it brings us together.
- History of Halloween – History.com
- Here’s Why We Really Celebrate Halloween – Country Living
- The Spooky History Behind Halloween – Good Housekeeping
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