24 Sep 2013

History of Halloween

*HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN*

Many hundreds of years ago, a people called the Celts lived in Europe and on the British Isles. The Celts believed that the souls of the dead visited Earth on the last day of October. They had a festival in honor of these souls of the dead, and they called it Samhain.

In time, the Roman Empire conquered the Celts and took over some of their beliefs as well. This included Samhain. The Romans combined it with their own festivals. And since the Roman Empire spread across a great part of the known world, the idea that the souls of the dead visited Earth on the last day of October spread far and wide.

Many ideas from the Roman days still survive in the United States and in other Western countries. Halloween is one of them. But how did we get the name Halloween?
In the 8th Century, the Catholic Church declared November 1 to be All Saints' Day. The church calendar had a number of days honoring saints already. November 1 was picked to be the day to honor all saints who didn't already have a day named in their honor. And the mass that the Catholic Church celebrated on November 1 was called Allhallowmas. This meant "mass of all the hallowed [saintly people.]" It was commonly called "All Hallows' Day."

And somewhere along the line, the night before became known as Allhallowe'en, which was short for "evening before All Hallows' Day." It was then shortened to what we now call it, Halloween.


Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve.
Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

 Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). 
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.
The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.
Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.
Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween has evolved.  The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the "trick" element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal "tricks" and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general.


"Trick-or-treating"

spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. 

The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL !!!



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