The origins of Halloween

halloweenWhen we think of Halloween today, we may envision fun, colorful costumes, sacks filled to overflowing with delicious treats, and jack-o-lanterns grinning from the porch steps. But, Halloween has a somewhat darker past…

Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient, pagan Celtic festival of Samhain. This was a time when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In fact, Samhain was believed to be a time when fairies and spirits or could more easily pass into our world!

As a result of Christian efforts to eliminate pagan holidays such as Samhain, the Catholic Church brought about major transformations to pagan festivals and celebrations. And, in 601 A.D., Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The evening before the holiday was known as All Hallows’ Eve, which later became Halloween.

Halloween in America today is now the second largest commercial holiday of the year, second only to Christmas. From trick or treating, to costume parties, Halloween is a fun-filled evening for all ages. But, as you celebrate, don’t forget Halloween’s early origins… and remember to watch out for roaming ghosts, fairies, and spirits!

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PHOTO: Used with permission by Serge Bertasius Photography and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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