The History of Halloween
October 31st is coming up quick and that means candy, costumes and parties are to be! This is the largest commercial 'holiday' in America today but it hasn't always been a day of candy and fun. Halloween has the reputation of being a day of spooks, but many will tell you that Halloween is the time of harvesting crops not hiding from spooks.
The last day of October wasn't always called Halloween. November 1st was once considered New Years Day for the Celts. For them, it marked summer coming to an end and the cold, long winter to start. Samhain was staged by the Celts as a harvest festival with rituals to protect their crops as well as themselves against the forthcoming winter.
It would be Pope Boniface IV that would name the day Halloween as he declared November 1st to be “All Saints' Day”, also known as “All-Hallows Day”. It was considered a hallow day as all were expected to remember those who had died to be honored for their Christian beliefs. In short time, the night before was shortened to All-Hallows Eve, and then Halloween.
The families in England would have festivities of all sorts along with parades to celebrate All Saint's Day and they would hand out food to the poor after receiving a promise they would pray for the family's deceased. This ritual would be called "go a souling" and children would visit their neighbors with rewards of food and money handed out.
So how did the Halloween costume come to be? Many, many years ago, it was said that the streets were filled with ghost roaming around on this night. By wearing a mask, you could keep the ghost away. Then people began to leaves bowls filled with food outside their door to keep the spirits from entering their home.
Today, we have a combination of the food, replaced by candy, the masks replaced with full costumes and the “go a souling” now trick-or-treating. We still have festivals where drink, food, games and more are shared as well.