The Celtic people of Ireland celebrated a festival called Samhain, which means the end of summer. During this time crops were harvested and animals were slaughtered to prepare for the long, cold winter. The Celtics belived that the worlds between the dead and the living could communicate because the air was the thinnest during this time. So October 31 was known as The eve of all Hallows, Hallows even, and eventually Halloween Essay.
There are many stories that explain how the traditions of Halloween were formed, so no one knows exactly how Halloween came to be.
One myth is that on this day the disembodied spirits of all those who died throughout the proceeding year would come back in search for bodies to possess for the next year. Not wanting to be possessed, the living people of the town would put out the fires in their homes so they would appear to be cold and undesirable. The townspeople would dress up in costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in an attempt to scare the spirits away.
Trick-or-Treat was said to come from people leaving food for the spirits on their doorsteps to ensure a good year. Another myth about how Trick-or-Treating got started is by the Celebration honoring Muck Olla where a parade of people begged for food and the leader wore a mask, which is how costumes were started.
Halloween didn’t become widely celebrated in the United States until the 1800’s when immigrants from Ireland and Scotland came to America.
The immigrants brought their own customs as well as making new customs in America. In Ireland people lit candles and placed them in turnips as jack-o-lanterns, but when coming to the new world they found that carving pumpkins and putting candles in them was a much better way to make a jack-o-lantern. The original jack-o-lantern came to be when a man named Jack made a deal with the devil to treat him kindly throughout the year. Well Jack died and was turned away from the gates of heaven, but he was also turned away from the gates of Hell because the devil had promised to treat him well. Instead the Devil gave Jack a lantern made with a candle put into a turnip. Ever since then people say Jack has roamed the earth carrying the lantern and that is how the Jack-o-lantern got its name.
The witch is the universal symbol of Halloween. The name witch comes from saxon wica meaning wise one. When setting out for a sabbath witches rubbed a sacred ointment onto their skin, this gave them the feeling of flying, if the witch was fasting they got an even better feeling of flying. Some witches rode horses but the poor ones carried a broomstick to help them keep balanced when jumping over rivers. When a witch was being initiated they were blindfolded, had flying ointment put on their face and placed on a broomstick. The ointment confused the mind, sped up the pulse and numbed the feet.
The soon to be witch was told she was flying over land and sea and always took the initiators word for it.
Until the end of World War two Halloween was a time for adults to party and teenagers to play pranks. After the war parents saw Halloween as a fun holiday to include their children. Except in 1970 a child was killed after eating a pixie stix poisoned with cyninde. It turned out that the child’s father poisoned the pixie stix so he could collect money from the child’s insurance policy. Even after this and other fatal incidents Halloween is still enthusiastically celebrated, in fact it is the second most celebrated holiday next to Christmas.
Today Halloween is celebrated for the fun of dressing up in costumes and going around to collect candy. There is no real purpose to celebrate this holiday other than to follow tradition. Just because we are not trying to prevent spirits from roaming the earth does not mean that they are resting peacefully in there grave. .