Halloween started around 2000 years ago as a 1-day New Years festival by the Celts living in Ireland and Scotland.
It was celebrated on October 31 to mark the transition between the old Celt year into the new year. The Celt years were divided into light and dark (aka Summer and Fall).
The festival was called Summer’s End.
It was believed that this day of transition was a magical day where spirits or ghosts of the dead walked the earth. The Celts saw it as a way to get blessed for a prosperous upcoming year of food harvest.
How did the Celts Celebrate?
You might see some of these old traditions celebrated today. Here are some of the customs the Celts used to celebrate this magical night:
– A Bonfire was lit to welcome the spirits
– Food and Drink were set out to make the spirits happy so they would bless the Celts with a prosperous upcoming year.
– Disguises were worn in case any vengeful spirits roamed around the party
– An empty chair was put out in front of the fire to welcome dead relatives returning this one night
The Medieval Roman Catholics adopted it and made it a 3 Day Festival
Attempting to convert Celtic pegans, the Medieval Roman Catholic Church adopted and adapted their festival into a 3-Day roman catholic festival. The Roman Catholics named the 3 Day Festival “All Hollow Tide”.
Day 1: All Hallows Eve or Halloween (October 31)
Day 2: All Hallows Day or All Saints Day or Hallowmas (November 1) – honoring the dead Saints and Martyrs
Day 3: All Souls Day (November 2) – honoring the departed everyday church goers. Priests instructed their congregation to pray for these souls that were trapped between heaven and hell: Purgatory. Souls got out of purgatory if enough prayers were offered.
Souling for Soul Cakes and Prayers – medieval Trick or Treating
Children would go door to door asking for soul cakes and would offer up prayers for those trapped in Purgatory.
Halloween Comes to America 1840’s
An influx of Irish and Scottish immigrants introduced the exciting tradition of celebrating October 31.
– Bobbing for Apples (the person who gets the apple is the next to get married)
– Playing Tricks on Neighbors
Halloween is a way to teach old traditions to children, a recognition of the supernatural and a time to celebrate with friends and family during a transition from Summer to Fall!
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