October is finally here and for those of you who don't know Halloween is my favorite holiday. Of course I began the pre-festivities already and my postings for the rest of the month will be Halloweenie related, yay!!
So, as much as I enjoy to learn some fun history and facts, I think it is appropriate to give the history of Halloween, (thanks to Wikipedia). Enjoy!!
Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and celts in the British Isles which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end".
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556.
Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween,but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century. The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature and classic horror films. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. They also include themes of death, evil, the occult, or mythical monsters. Black and orange are the holiday's traditional colors.
Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. The practise of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.