Halloween is a very popular holiday but there are still a lot of things about this tradition that many people don’t know. Everyone associates dressing up in costumes and getting candy with Halloween but there’s much more to it than that. First of all, Halloween started out as a pagan holiday that dates back over two thousand years. It started with the Celtic people who lived in France, Britain and Ireland. The Celts worshiped the God Samhain who was known as the prince of darkness or the Lord of the dead.
November 1st was the beginning of the New Year for the Celts. The Celtic leaders or Druids would perform a New Year festival the night before in an attempt to soothe Samhain since he controlled the cold winter months. It was originally called All Hallows Eve because it was celebrated on October 31st which ended the Celtic calendar year.
This holiday was created as a way to honor the dead because it was believed that this was the day when the dead walked among the living on the earth. Bonfires were built to deter the evil spirits and sacrifices were often made to Samhain during the celebrations.
The Jack-o-Lantern is a popular custom associated with Halloween and it came from an Irish legend about a man named Jack. The legend says that Jack could not go to heaven because of his greed and he tricked the devil so he wasn’t allowed in hell at the time of his death. This left Jack to roam the earth looking for a resting place until judgment day.
Some accounts of the legend say that Jack was eating a turnip and the devil threw a hot coal that landed and melted through the turnip and this is what lit his way as he roamed the earth. Others say he placed the bottom part of a candle in the turnip himself to be used as light. Either way, the Irish people carved out turnips and put lights inside them as a way to remember Jack. The turnip was replaced with the pumpkin in America and the Jack-o-Lantern became a bit hit on Halloween.
The Irish is also responsible for the trick-or-treat tradition because they would go from one house to the next and ask for food. If the people in the homes didn’t provide food, they would play tricks on them. Many people celebrate Halloween simply because it’s declared a national holiday and they don’t even know how it first originated.
Knowing the history behind this holiday helps you to understand it more along with the customs that are associated with it. Many people view Halloween as a fun time when you get to dress up as anything you like and go out to collect lots of candy, while others choose not to celebrate Halloween at all.