Halloween Origin, Folklore And Trivia

Trivia on how Halloween evolved from a pagan holiday to trick or treat. How this

Halloween or All Hallows Eve, originated from the Pagan Holiday Samhain (pronounced sow-wen). Its name means summers end. This spirit connotation originated as the ancient Celtic druids paid tribute with gifts and food (and sometimes it was rumored sacrifices) to the spirit world to insure that next year's crop would be bountiful. It was a time for communicating with the dead and receiving wisdom from past ancestors to insure prosperity.

When the Christians set about to convert the pagans, some adaptation of these spiritual rituals had to be made to keep the Pagans in the Church. Therefore, November 1st became "All Saints Day" to honor all those in heaven and October 31st was tacked on as "All Hallows Eve" or Halloween, the night when all the dead are remembered.

Today, this "night of the dead" is remembered and observed in many cultures. For some, the ritual still includes leaving out food for the dead, or cooking a special meal that the dearly departed enjoyed. For others, who think of the dead in a less personal manner, it is catching the midnight showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It is a time for fortune telling and séances, Halloween parties and the most famous ritual of all "Trick or Treat."

Trick or Treat, or going from house to house to ask for gifts, was said to have originated in England, where peasant children, dressed in rags like prisoners, would beg for coins or treats as a token of remembrance of a man, Guy Fawkes, who was drawn and quartered after attempting to blow up the British government offices. However, Halloween did not become an American "Hallmark Holiday' until the 20th century. It evolved from children going next door for a treat to parents driving around carloads of children looking for choice neighborhoods to "get loot." Homemade costumes gave way to boxed sets with masks and accessories. Nowadays, costumes of the latest super heroes or horror figures are on the shelves in August, a far cry from the rag costumes of old.

The Jack O' Lantern was adapted from the old Irish practice of carving out turnips or other vegetables to make lanterns. Pumpkin carving remains one of the main attractions at any Halloween gathering.

Since the revival of the Pagan religion, many are again choosing to celebrate Samhain in a more traditional sense with reverence for those passed on, although many pagans enjoy modern day fun as well. And Catholics still celebrate November 1st as "All Saints Day".

No matter what your religion or how you may choose to enjoy (or ignore) Halloween, it's best to keep a bag of candy corn in the house for those adorable doorbell ringers lest your house get "egged".

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