History of Halloween
The word itself, “Halloween,” actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar and originally a pagan holiday honoring the dead. Called All Hallows Eve, it dates back over 2000 years. November 1st, All Saints Day, is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.
Halloween is one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It’s one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. While millions of people celebrate it without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts of Halloween make it more fascinating.
Some view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as an evil holiday. As this Christian debate goes on, we can celebrate it with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.
Origin of Halloween
While many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween exist, some remain consistent. Different cultures view it variously but traditional Halloween practices remain the same. We can trace Halloween culture back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain (sow-en), which honors the dead on October 31st. Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. This harvest festival, which includes practices fed on superstition, marks the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of a new one. In this ancient practice the Celts believe the souls of the dead roam the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits are friendly, they leave out gifts and treats to pacify the evil ones and ensure a plentiful crop for the next year. This custom then evolves into present day trick-or-treating.