Monday, October 31, 2011
History of Halloween...
Through the centuries, Roman festivals were incorporated into the Celtic traditions. One in particular, a day to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees, is possibly the origin of the tradition of bobbing for apples. Eventually, the Catholic church created All Saint's Day on November 1st and then All Soul's Day on November 2nd in an attempt to replace the Celtic holiday with one sanctioned by the church. On All Soul's Day, people celebrated by having big bonfires, parades and dressing in costume. The name Halloween is derived from Middle English Alholowmesse which means All Saint's Day. The day before was termed All-hallows Eve and eventually became Halloween.
The celebration of Halloween was limited in colonial New England because of the strict views of the Puritans. Halloween was most popular in Maryland and the southern colonies where different European ethnic groups and Native Americans meshed their beliefs. Public events were held to celebrate the harvest and people gathered to to share stories of the dead, tell each others' fortunes and dance and sing. When the millions of immigrants fleeing the potato famine of Ireland began hitting the shores, the celebration of Halloween began to become more popular. People dressed in costume and went door to door begging for food or money which later became "trick-or-treating".
In the late 1800's, people were encouraged to do away with the scarier aspect of the celebrations. It was then that the holiday lost most of its religious and superstitious meaning. In the 1900's, celebration moved more towards community events such as parades and parties. By the mid 1900's, the tradition of trick-or-treating was revived as it was an inexpensive way for the community to share in the holiday (and perhaps prevent any mischief). During this time, Halloween became more of a young person's holiday.
So go out, have a bonfire, carve a pumpkin, remember your dreams and eat a lot of candy.