religion influence halloween

It’s not a trick! We have a treat for you. The story behind the Halloween holiday.

Halloween has a lengthy history as it spread across the world. Many different religions had their own variation of the holiday, and their traditions later mixed together to form the community friendly event we see happen annually on October 31st. The day is thought to have come from ancient rituals of Celtics in which they would light bonfires and dress up in costume to scare off ghosts that came to earth. This festival was called Samhain, pronounced sow-in. As the time passed, changes were made through religious decisions that would alter the holiday forever.

Insert Christianity

In 43 AD, the Roman Empire took control of a majority of what was Celtic territory, now known as the U.K., Ireland and northern France. They ruled the land for 400 years and made their own changes to Samhain. They combined the festival with traditions from their own Feralia and Pomona. Feralia was their day to celebrate and remember those who have died. Pomona’s day was the day they worshipped the goddess of fruit and tress, Pomona. Bobbing for apples may have stemmed from their traditions, as Pomona’s symbol is the apple. In 609 AD, Pope Boniface the Fourth declared the All Martyrs’ Day, which was later expanded by Pope Gregory the Third to include all saints and martyrs and moved to November 1st. Pope Gregory the 1st had encouraged a massive movement of Christianity by encouraging his missionaries to simply make everything Christ sanctioned.

Traditions

Halloween is full of different traditions that stem from centuries old beliefs. It was 2,000 years ago that Celtics wore costumes made from animal remains and danced around sacred bonfires built to sacrifice crops and animals through. When Samhain became All Saints’ Day by the Church in the 9th century, the holiday was celebrated much the same way on the 1st of November. The night before began to be termed All-hallows Eve, and then it was known as Halloween.

When the holiday arrived in the U.S., it was pretty limited, primarily done in Maryland and other southern colonies. American Indian beliefs and European beliefs combined together to create the Halloween we celebrate. In earlier days, people engaged in play parties to share scary stories, take part in pranks, tell each other’s fortunes, and sing and dance together.

When the Irish and other new immigrants arrived in the late 19th century, Americans began to wear costumes and go trick or treating, though they asked for food and money rather than candy. Today, Halloween is one of the biggest commercial holidays in the United States. Americans spend around $6 billion on candy alone each year on the holiday. 

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