The History Of Halloween

Halloween is a holiday that is loved by many people especially the Americans. It is celebrated on the eve of November 1. People on the night of October 31 dress Halloween costumes which makes Halloween the second highest grossing commercial holiday since people who will attend Halloween parties intricate their costumes. Traditional activities on this day include visiting haunted houses, designing jack-o-lanterns, and making bonfires. In some ways to cut costs, people are making homemade costumes instead of buying one, using the Halloween decorations in the previous yeasr, and buying inexpensive candies.

The tradition of Halloween root back in Samhain, an aged harvest festival held during the end of Celtic year. The harvest festival marks the start of winter and the end of summer season. It was imagined that dead spirits returned on the eve of the harvest festival to play tricks and harm the crops of the living. The celebration of Samhain usually involved bonfires since it is believed in the ancient times that fires attract insects to the places which allured bats to that area. It mentions that wearing of masks and Halloween costumes are efforts to imitate the bad spirits.

In the early times, the arrival of the Romans to the Celtic territories including Scotland, England, and Northern France leave a mark in the celebration of Samhain. The Romans influenced the people in these countries by bringing their holidays such as Feralia, the day of the Romans where they show respect to the dead. The evolution on the history of Halloween has become known to several countries in which Halloween activities such as trick-or-treat have become popular in many countries including the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. It states that during the old times, Great Britain showed resistance to the growth of Halloween, wherein British policemen threaten to perform legal action to parents who permit their children to carry the “trick” element. Also in continental Europe, the act of practicing Halloween is perceive with skepticism as the police have raised suspicion on this game in general.

Today, some states in the U.S. like Iowa, Massachusetts, and Ohio have designated the night of October 31 for trick-or-treating also called as the Beggars Night. It states that with the increasing influence of the American culture through constant exposure to media such as television, the Halloween practice of trick-or-treat began to happen among children in Saudi Arabia and in many parts in Europe. The trick-or-treat is a children’s activity in Halloween where they go house to house in costumes, asking “trick or treat?” The treat asked by children is confectionery such as candies. If the homeowner answers “trick,” a threat to play trick in his property is given. The main tradition of trick-or-treat expects children in the neighborhood to buy treats for the trick-or-treaters. The history of trick-or-treat which serves as an adult invention to prevent Halloween activities from vandalism has not been supported.

Halloween costumes are a part of the Halloween history. The customary practice of wearing Halloween costumes on the eve of Halloween, as well as the begging of food door to door, are practiced since the Middle Ages. The trick-or-treat activity symbolizes the act of “souling,” when poor people would go door to door to receive food in exchange of praying for the dead on All Saints Day, which is held in November 2. In Great Britain and in Ireland, the same practices of souling were the same as in Italy. Despite the lack of evidence that testify the practice of souling in the U.S., it is believed that treat-or-trick was adopted in the country.

In addition, the early documentation of ritual begging in Halloween happens in 1911 when an Ontario newspaper reported that is acceptable for smaller children to make street guising on the holiday such as visiting neighbors and shops, and being given with candies and nuts as a reward for their songs and rhymes. Also, many Halloween postcards made in the turn of the 20th century depicts to show something about Halloween but does not represent trick-or-treat. Also, the immigration of many Scots-Irish in the U.S. from 1717 to 1770 started ritualism of begging in Halloween which became uncertain in the U.S. until the generations that came after.

Image Courtesy of franky242 /