HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Halloween

Halloween can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain , which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.

Some evangelical Christians have expressed concern that Halloween is satanic because of its roots in pagan ritual. However, ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil and had no concept of it. It is actually hard to say that Halloween is strictly tied to origins of pagan beliefs as Christianity played a major roll in the traditions surrounding the holiday possibly even more so than Samhain.

As for the holiday we now know as Halloween, beliefs and customs were brought to North America by Irish immigrants. By the mid-twentieth century Halloween had become more of a children’s holiday. Since that time, the holiday’s popularity increased adults.

Through the ages, various supernatural entities came to be associated with Halloween, and more than a century ago in Ireland, the event was said to be a time when spirits of the dead could return to their old haunting grounds. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became normal as the holiday became more widespread and more commercial. Now our costumes are only limited by our imagination. 

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