Brief Overview Of Halloween’s Origins

Are you interested in where modern day practices came from? America is a mixing pot of ideas, cultures, and traditions that has produced some interesting new ideas, culture, and modern day traditions. These have caught on and become nostalgic in the minds of the late 20th century society. One of those traditions that has arisen from the pot is Halloween. The holiday is celebrated all over the country on October 31st and the fun of Halloween is catching on all over the world because of our influence in other countries. The following article will cover some of the things that helped Halloween come about in America.

The idea of Halloween comes from the religious observances of the Catholic church on October 31st through November 2nd. “All Hallows Eve” followed by “All Saints/Hallows Day” and on the last day, “All Souls Day.” These religious practices that were part of the Catholic culture for literally hundreds of years, came over with the immigrants that settled in America. The ceremonies that went along with these holidays laid the foundation for the idea for the involvement of the dead. The Irish and Scots had their fire festivals around the same time as the English and had a ton of traditions that had to do with the dead and the Celtic new year. When the Irish came over to America during the potato famine and in later years, they brought all of these traditions that went along with the festivities. These two different celebrations mixed together and began to form a new holiday all on its own.

Between American inventions of vampires, zombies, werewolves and the churches’ pagan mudslinging, the old witch, demons, and the living dead mixed together to create a whole new idea of what this time of year actually means. Different traditions such as trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, haunted houses, and other spooky things arose from the legends and traditions that had symbolic meaning when they were originally celebrated.

Halloween started to form into what it is today in New England because of its Irish population and its history of witch burnings. People began to celebrate the “All Hallows Eve” by dressing up as monsters and going around to houses and collecting treats from each other. People took advantage of this time of year and played tricks on innocent bystanders. Kids began to use that as leverage to get candy from people. Trick-or-treating became a way for people to avoid being tricked by giving the potential trickster some candy or other treat to take on their way.

All of these different things played some part in the formulation of modern day Halloween. People began to accept these traditions as innocent opportunities to have some fun dressing up and scaring each other. There is something intriguing about using the idea of monsters and the un-dead as a basis for a celebration. Festivities around this time of year are full of games, parties, and innocent fun that bring people together as friends and family. After American pop culture got a hold of Halloween, it exploded as a huge business opportunity. People quickly began to realize that making this holiday popular would create a market for new things. They were right. Department stores make huge profits off of costumes, candy, decorations, movies, and anything else that is scary for Halloween.

Although Halloween today is mostly commercial business trying to make as much money as possible, it is still a time that can be fun and memorable. Dressing up in costumes, getting free candy, and trying to scare someone is an offshoot of the spiritual origins of the holiday.

Halloween Is...
Halloween Is...
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The Book of Hallowe en: The Origin and History of Halloween
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