How did Halloween get started?

in Halloween
Halloween is exciting and fun for all regardless whether they are children, teens, adults or elderly. It may be worthwhile to research a bit to find out the origin of Halloween and how and when all this maddening celebrations got started. Historians tell us that approximately 2,000 years ago, a tribe known as the Celts occupied the area that now comprises of the United Kingdom, Northern France, and Ireland. The Celts considered November 1 as the commencement of the New Year and October 31 was their New Year's Eve. The tribesmen believed that the world of the living and the world of the dead colluded during the New Year eve. It was said that on this night, witches and ghosts prowled the earth and that the souls of the dead came from above and revisited places where they had once lived. The Celts celebrated the occasion as Samhain creating bonfires and making animal sacrifices and wearing costumes made of animal heads and animal skins. Though the Celts created huge fires to ward off the witches, they piled up food and put up lanterns to welcome the ghosts and deceased spirits. When Romans conquered the Celts, they combined the Roman festival of honoring the dead with Samhain. Later, when Christianity became a universal religion, Pope Boniface IV added a different color to these types of festivities. He christened November 1 as "All Saints' Day" -- a day dedicated for honoring the dead – particularly, the saints and martyrs. Some people called this celebration as "All-Hallows," and the eve of the event (night of October 31) was celebrated as "All-Hallows' Eve," - which term eventually came to be known as Halloween. People in Ireland felt that ghosts and dead spirits roamed the earth on Halloween night and lit fires to scare away these evil intruders, and wore masks and costumes to disguise themselves. Groups of villagers would visit the houses seeking food for a community feast and those who offered liberally were promised a prosperous year and the rest were cursed. Their mission was to simply tell the people, "You treat me, or else I will trick you!" Thus, the trick or treating was possibly an Irish invention. Besides, the legend has it that an Irishman named Jack was not able to enter heaven due to his miserliness, and also unable to enter hell because he had won the enmity of the devils. As a result, Jack wandered aimlessly over the earth with his lantern until judgment day. The Irish were so afraid that a similar fate would befall them and began to hollow out pumpkins and place lighted candles inside to scare away evil spirits from their homes. The Irish, who arrived in America as settlers were responsible for spreading the concept of Halloween in America where it eventually grew in popularity. With the advent of modern science and advancement of technology, Halloween in USA, as in other parts of the world, became less and less of a religious festival and this annual event has now turned into more of a social event.
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How did Halloween get started?

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This article was published on 2010/10/07