The article, “History and Customs of Halloween” disputes the belief Halloween had its origin in evil rituals. The article claims that while some evil cults observed Halloween in a cultic manner, it began from Celtics celebrating their new year.
Roots of Halloween
The roots of Halloween are in Catholicism, formed by Constantine around 325 AD. The word Halloween is probably a derivative of “All Hallows Eve,” a spin-off of “All Hallows Day” or “All Saints Day,” which is a day to honor Saints.
In the fifth century AD, in Celtic Ireland, the New Years day celebration called Sam Hain was at the end of summer, on October 31. The theory was that on October 31 the spirits of those who died in the proceeding year would arise from the dead, and look for bodies to inhabit throughout the next year. The Celtics believed the rules of time and space ceased during this day, and spirits could mix with humans. The living, not wanting possessed by spirits, would darken their houses in the evening, dress up in costumes depicting demon’s, and parade through the neighborhood destroying property and making noise to scare away demons. Other accounts tell of people, supposedly possessed, burned at the stake in order to destroy them, and the spirit that inhabited them.
The Roman Catholics adopted the Celtic practices, but changed the deity from the spirit world to Pamona, the goddess of fruit and trees. Her symbol was the apple, from which possibly came the Halloween practice of bobbing for apples. Time passed, and other gods and goddesses became part of the tradition. Some, like “Hecate,” who was a favorite of Zeus was friendly, while others, like vampires, invoked fear. The costumes villagers wore depicted these god’s and goddesses.
Halloween in the USA
In the 1840’s, as a variety of people immigrated to the USA they brought their customs with them. Today’s trick or treating probably derived form European customs on All Soul’s Day. Christians would go from house to house asking for soul cakes. The more soul cakes the more prayer to release friends and relatives from purgatory. The idea of lit jack-o-lanterns more than likely came from the Irish, and their belief spirits carried them on All Saints Day to light their way. The Irish originally carved out turnips and put the candle in them, but found pumpkins more plentiful when they immigrated to the United States.
Wilstar: History and Customs of Halloween: wilstar.com
Get Questions?: What is Origin of the Catholic Church: gotquestions.org