History of Halloween

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By Gabriella Mancuso

Halloween is a time filled with magic, the supernatural and the gathering of many delicious treats. Now, Halloween is fun for people of all different ages, but is that the way it has always been? Halloween can be traced back generations and generations to a society called the Celtics. The Celtics celebrated a holiday similar to Halloween called Samhain.
The literal definition of Samhain translates to “summers end.” During this day, usually around November 1st, tribes would collect their crops and gather their cattle in preparation for winter. However, many scholars believe Samhain to have been a time of communicating with the dead. In contrast, other scholars believe that Samhain had nothing to do with contacting the dead. Instead they waited for the reveal of the underworld, and payed tribute to their past victories. Although these beliefs seem harmless Christians thought otherwise. Christians believed Halloweens roots were evil and satanic. They made many attempts in wiping out Samhain but failed to do so. Christians did everything in their power to try and turn Samhain beliefs holy. They created days like All Saints Day and All Souls Day to replace Samhain. Despite their attempts Christians were unsuccessful. The practices celebrated on Samhain became tradition and influenced many throughout the world.
Mumming and begging were one of the traditions originated from Samhain with then done in several places. Mumming, dressing as monsters and spooky creatures in exchange for food and beverages, was a common tactic used by people to go door to door in search for food. In England, those struck with poverty would beg people for prayers instead of food. As well as begging came other traditions. Many believers left their doors open to welcome a loved one’s ghost into their home. Although Halloween was not celebrated in America until after WWII, Irish immigrants were the first to celebrate this holiday and the concept of the afterlife in North America. As time progressed pleading for meals and treats became an annual event on October 31st. By this time multiple young adults took it upon themselves to make sure tricking became a crucial part of Halloween. Farmers would wake up to their outhouses tipped over, eggs cracked on their doors and opened gates. As an alternative to this people encouraged everyone of all ages to dress up as anything they wanted. Superheroes, Fairies and Princesses joined the mix, and soon everything and everyone became a part of Halloween.
Halloween may not have started out the way we know it now, but the thrill of celebrating the unknown has been around for ages. Halloween grants a safe way for people of all ages to explore the darkest parts of their imagination and enjoy it. Many different supernatural beings and non- supernatural beings are now in association with it. Halloween, a time for treats and scares, is now beloved by millions, and will forever be one of the most important holidays of the year.