When most people think of Halloween, they think of parades, tricks, treats and parties. But have you ever thought of where and when did Halloween start? Well, here is the answer.
A group of people called the Celts celebrated ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain named after their lord of the dead Samhain on November 1 in the area of the world that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France about 2000 years ago. On the night before Samhain (October 31) Celts believed that the dead returned as ghosts so they would leave food and wine on their door step to please the roaming spirits because they anticipated that the presence of the otherworldly spirits motivated the Celtic priests to make predictions about the future. People who entirely believed on the volatile natural world were dependent on the predictions that were an important source of serenity and security during the long, dark winter days. Also, Celts wore mask before leaving their home so they can be mistaken for ghosts.
To celebrate Samhain, people built immense bonfires, where the people assemble to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to their lord. Throughout the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, created out of animal heads and skins, and endeavor to tell each other’s destiny. Once the celebration was over, they re-lit their fires, which they had doused earlier that evening, from the bonfire to help preserve them during the coming winter.
The Christian church turned Samhain into all hallows day within the eight century and the night before was referred as all hallows eve and later was shorten as Halloween. You know about trick-or treat on Halloween but what about souling and guising? All three of these tradition originated in the medieval Britain. On November 2nd women would beg for pastries known as soul cake and in return they would pray for people’s dead relatives, this was called souling. About guising, young children would dress up and collect grapes, wine and money and provide in exchange singing, poetry or telling jokes.
Here are few facts! Did you know?
- Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
- Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween
- In 1974, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died of cyanide poisoning after eating Halloween candy. Investigators later learned that his father had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on each of his children and that he had poisoned his own son and also attempted to poison his daughter.
So whether you are fan of tricks, treats or trivia but there is a bit of Halloween history that you didn’t know!