Halloween: Unknown Historical Facts

October 30, 2017

We celebrate Halloween on October 31 every year. It is one of the most popular and oldest holidays. It came to us from the 8th century and turned into a massive celebration in the 14th century. Here are some interesting facts you might still do not know about it!

Halloween is the mix of pagan and Christian traditions

According to many researchers, Halloween is a Christianized holiday, which derived from the Celtic celebrations of the harvest and the days of the dead, that is it has pagan roots. Despite the modern image of this holiday with the elements of ghosts and ghouls, the first aim of the feast was to honor all saints, not sinners. Pope Gregory III moved the date of All Saints from 13 May to 1 November. After the Christianization of Celtic tribes in the 11th century, Halloween becomes the day of "the evening before of all the Saint's Day." Thus, Halloween changed from the pagan feast into a Christian holiday thousand years ago.

Halloween and Samhain

Many Halloween elements of celebrating come from the old Celtic feast Samhain. It meant the beginning of a new season and time of harvest. The feast reminded of death and possibility of further resurrection. It was the day of honoring all dead people. Thus, it was a widespread practice to celebrate it at night, to worship to gods, to sacrifice animals to them, to dress up in different clothes and to make bonfires. Then, after the Roman's occupation of Celtic tribes, the feast became similar to such Roman celebrations as Feralia, which also honors the dead, and Pomona. Thanks to the last one, it became traditional to get apples from the water on Halloween, as it symbolized the gifts of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Thus, Samhain influenced Halloween elements, which we perceive now as the Halloween original customs.

Reasons of popularity

Halloween was not a widespread feast in the 18-19th centuries. It was popular locally, for instance, in Maryland, and in the Southeast. The situation changed in the middle of the 19th century when the Irish and Scots began massive migration, bringing their traditions of different feasts. It was the time of renewing such Halloween elements as the saying "trick or treating", dressing up, etc. Now, Halloween has become one of the most famous and popular holidays in the USA.

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