In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
By 43 A. In the course of the years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of bobbing for apples that is practiced today on Halloween. On May 13, A. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.
By the 9th century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. In A.
The celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.
Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country. In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine , helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.
In the late s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes. Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century. By the s and s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment.
Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague some celebrations in many communities during this time. By the s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between and , the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived.
Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Read more: Who Invented Candy Corn?
Speaking of commercial success, scary Halloween movies have a long history of being box office hits. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry.
On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter. Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition.
It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages , when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats.
We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. But both are thought to embody strong pre-Christian beliefs. In the case of Halloween, the Celtic celebration of Samhain is critical to its pagan legacy, a claim that has been foregrounded in recent years by both new-age enthusiasts and the evangelical Right. Salzburger Nachrichten.
Archived from the original on 17 March Retrieved 11 August Halloween in der Steiermark und anderswo in German. Allerheiligen war lange vor der Halloween invasion ein wichtiger Brauchtermin und ist das ncoh heute. Aber es wird nicht als solches inszeniert.
Volkskundler Alois Ist Halloween schon wieder out? Westdeutscher Rundfunk.
Archived from the original on 14 June Retrieved 12 November Teens in Finland. Most funerals are Lutheran, and nearly 98 percent of all funerals take place in a church. It is customary to take pictures of funerals or even videotape them. To Finns, death is a part of the cycle of life, and a funeral is another special occasion worth remembering. In fact, during All Hallow's Eve and Christmas Eve, cemeteries are known as valomeri , or seas of light. Finns visit cemeteries and light candles in remembrance of the deceased. Duke University. Archived PDF from the original on 5 October Retrieved 31 May About All Hallows Eve: Tonight is the eve of All Saints Day, the festival in the Church that recalls the faith and witness of the men and women who have come before us.
The service celebrates our continuing communion with them, and memorializes the recently deceased. The early church followed the Jewish custom that a new day began at sundown; thus, feasts and festivals in the church were observed beginning on the night before.
National Republic. Among the European nations the beautiful custom of lighting candles for the dead was always a part of the "All Hallow's Eve" festival. Companion to the Calendar. Liturgy Training Publications.
In most of Europe, Halloween is strictly a religious event. Sometimes in North America the church's traditions are lost or confused. Cranston Herald.
Archived from the original on 26 November By the early 20th century, Halloween, like Christmas, was commercialized. Pre-made costumes, decorations and special candy all became available.