how Halloween came to be
HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN
BY SARA YOUNG OCTOBER 31 2014
Photo by Monica Crawford
On Oct. 31, one of the most anticipated nights of the year, ghosts, goblins and ghouls line the streets chanting “trick-or-treat.” Halloween is a holiday many have been participating in ever since they can remember. However, many have no idea how this holiday came to be.
The history of All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, can trace back to more than 2,000 years ago. A Gaelic festival was held on Oct. 31 called the Samhain. In Gaelic, "Samhain" means "summer’s end.” The festival was used to end the harvest season and prepare for the cold winter months ahead.
This holiday has adapted a lot over the years, but it originated from the Irish.
According to ancient myths, the Gaelic people used this time to commemorate their conquerors. The tribal people used the sidhs, or ancient mounds, to try to reveal the castles of the the gods of the underworld.
During Samhain ceremonies, tribal leaders wore animal skins and heads. Many believe this is how the tradition of dressing up in costumes on Halloween came to be.
Irish immigrants brought the Halloween traditions to North America. By the middle of the 20th century, children participated in this holiday all over the country.
In the early 1900s, Halloween was used as a night to pull pranks and jokes. When crimes began to get more serious, parents and town leaders had to step in. In an effort to stop the crimes, the adults decided to try to bribe the kids with candy. They would convince the kids to walk around the neighborhood and ask for candy so they would not be on the streets participating in illegal activities.
The pumpkin carving was a tradition brought to North America by the Irish immigrants. An Irish legend stated that there was a drunken farmer named Jack who dealt with the devil. When the farmer died, he was not allowed inside the gates of heaven and hell. Jack was sent to purgatory. In purgatory, Jack wandered in the dark until he had an idea. He created an o’lantern from a turnip and a lump of burning coal to guide him.
When the Irish immigrants came to North America, they noticed a plethora of large orange vegetables now called pumpkins. The immigrants started using the pumpkins instead of the turnips.
Just like carving turnips has evolved into carving pumpkins, Halloween itself has evolved over the years and is now a major highlight of the fall season.