Fun Facts About Halloween

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

  • Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts, who celebrated it as Samhain
  • When the Roman Empire came to Britain, they combined two of their festivals with Samhain: Feralia, which commemorated the passing of the dead; and the festival of Pomona, goddess of fruit and trees.
  • Pomona’s symbol was an apple, and it is believed that the tradition of bobbing from apples derives from Roman festivities.
  • Several centuries later, the spread of Christianity to the British Isles further changed the old Celtic holiday by blending it with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, which took place at the same time of year as Samhain and was celebrated in much the same way, with bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as devils, angels, and saints.
  • All Saints was also called All-hallows, and the night before it All Hallow’s Eve—the traditional night of Samhain. Over the centuries, All Hallow’s Eve gradually became known as Halloween.
  • The celebration of Halloween was not widespread in America at first due to the strict religious beliefs of the colonists. Instead, festivities marked the harvest and the coming of autumn, and were celebrated by dancing and telling ghost stories.
  • Trick-or-treating originally began as an Irish tradition in which people who dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for food or money. This tradition came to America in the mid 1800’s with the flood of Irish immigrants into the country.
  • Halloween parties started during the Victorian era, when people began to move away from the more superstitious and religious overtones of the holiday. By the 1920’s, the holiday was entirely secular.
  • Today, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in America.

Come back tomorrow for some great ideas for Halloween costumes!

 



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