Happy Halloween everyone! Last week I talked about the history of Trick or Treating, which got me thinking about Halloween itself.
Originally known as All Hallows Evening, Halloween is observed on October 31, but what some of you may not know is that the Western Christian Feast is celebrated on the same day, but is known as All Hallows Day. The day and night is dedicated to remembering the dearly departed including martyrs, saints and all of the faithful believers who have passed on. The All Hallow Tide tradition was celebrated from the 31st of October until the 2nd of November. The word Halloween dates back to around 1745. Of Christian origin, the word literally means holy evening or hallowed evening. Halloween is derived from the Scottish term All Hallows Eve.
In many countries, Christians observe All Hallows Eve by attending church, lighting candles, and placing them on their friends and family member’s graves. These types of customs are less popular as Halloween became more commercial during the 1950’s. Nowadays popular activities for Halloween include carving pumpkins, lighting bonfires, bobbing for apples, attending costume parties, playing pranks, watching horror movies, telling scary stories, visiting haunted houses and of course, Trick or Treating.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Halloween began more than 2,000 years ago with the Ancient Pagan Festival known as Samhain, or All Souls Day. The Celts believed that the living could visit and talk with the dead during Samhain.
Pumpkins weren’t always the vegetable of choice when it came to Jack-O-Lanterns. Apparently, Scotland and Ireland carved turnips during Halloween.
When immigrants migrating to North America those who celebrated All Hallows Eve started carving pumpkins in 1837, as they were much easier to carve. Interestingly enough, pumpkins were originally associated with solstice and harvest time. It wasn’t until the mid to late 19th century that pumpkins became a part of Halloween.
Stay safe everyone and if you are planning on taking the kids Trick-or-Treating or heading out yourself, make sure you carry a flashlight and never go out alone. Happy Halloween!