History of Halloween

History of HalloweenDid you know that Halloween usually makes the top 5 in a list of favorite holidays? Why, you ask?

Kids love it for the candy and adults like it because they too can dress in costumes and celebrate. Anyone can celebrate it, but anyone can opt out of celebrating it too.

So you can see how Halloween is a holiday for everyone, but do you know when the holiday originated and how it got to be all about costumes and candy? Most associate Halloween with the day of the dead. However, this idea has not even begun to delve into the rich history of the origins of Halloween. Allcal explains the history of Halloween.

Most scholars have agreed that Halloween is derived from the Celtic/Gaelic celebration of Samhain which was celebrated on November 1st. On the night Oct 31st, it was believed that the dead returned as ghosts.

It was also believed that it was a time when the barrier between our world and the underworld was the weakest and so allowed spirits and fairies (Gods) to travel into this world. To keep the livestock alive through the winter, the people needed to appease the fairies by offering them food and drink or portions of their crops. Also, during this time the souls of the dead were believed to return to their earthly homes where the people set places for them at the table or by the fireplace. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#History)

In the 8th Century, Samhain (Nov 1) was changed to All Saints Day or All Hallows by Christian missionaries sent to change the traditions of the Pagan world. As such, October 31st was changed into All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween. (http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween/videos/bet-you-didnt-know-halloween)

Some of the traditions we have today date back to the traditions of the Celtic/Gaelic people. One of the traditions is Guising, which like trick-or-treating, is when people went around to houses in costumes to get food. The only difference is that the people had to recite verses and poems in exchange for the food (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#History). Another tradition is the lighting of candles to help souls find their way to the underworld.

Today our traditions include dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, contests of who can eat the most candy, and spending the whole next day throwing up the candy that you shoved into your mouth the night before. So this Halloween, have fun trick-or-treating with friends and family, but also remember the history of Halloween and where this great holiday comes from.

To help organize your Halloween celebration, use the allcal app. Allcal can help friends and family know the plan for the day as well as help with costume coordination and where your group is meeting before trick-or-treating. For a list of some cool things to do with your friends, check out our “Five Activities For Halloween with Friends” blog.

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