Halloween, a History

Jordan Lutz, Staff Reporter

The traditions of Halloween have a spook-tacular history and it all started with the ancient Celts.

The Celts would throw a festival of Samhain on October 31st. This was the night before November 1st which marks their new year. This day was the end of summer and the start of the dark, cold winter. During this season, it was often associated with human death because the Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the living worlds was distorted. On October 31st, when they celebrated Samhain, they believed that the ghosts of the dead came down to earth. They built bonfires and wore costumes and masks to avoid being recognized by the ghosts that came out.

Then the Romans conquered the Celts territory and ruled the land for 400 years. Throughout this time, two Roman festivals were combined with Samhain. One of them was called Feralia, where the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead in late October. The other festival honored the Roman Goddess of fruit and trees, Pomona. Her symbol is the apple and was incorporated onto the Samhain celebration. This is most likely how the traditional (well, used to be traditional) “bobbing for apples” games came originated from.

By the year 800, Christian influence spread to the Celtic lands. Pope Boniface IV made November 1st All Saint’s Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. This celebration was also referred to as All-hallows, which was Middle English for All Saint’s Day. Eventually, the night before began to be called All-hallows Eve and then turned into Halloween.

Ever wonder where Trick-or-Treating came from? The Celts and Europeans would place bowls of food outside their doors to satisfy the ghosts and hoping that would prevent them from coming into their home.

Halloween is one of the most favored holidays in America. No matter how old you are, the traditions of dressing up and eating loads of candy til your stomach hates you can never get old. Thanks to the Celts who started it all!