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The Charger Bulletin

All About Halloween

Joann Wolwowicz

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With Halloween coming up this Saturday, what better topic to write about then the one holiday all about candy. But is it just all about candy or is there more to it that no one ever bothered to look up? Well, that’s what I’m here for. The history of Halloween actually dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sa-ween). The festival was planned to celebrate their new year on Nov. 1. Because this day came around the time of end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold weather, Celtics often associated this day with human death and believed that on this night the boundaries between the living and dead became blurred.

Halloween first came to America as different European immigrants traveled, bringing their own Halloween traditions with them. It was more common in Maryland and in a variety of southern states where a blend of traditions slowly started to emerge to form the “American” Halloween. The first celebrations included public events to celebrate the end of the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country. In 1846, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go from house to house asking for food or money, similar to today’s traditions.

Halloween is filled with many traditions and superstitions that many of us do not think about, but just accept. Where did they all come from? Orange and black were labeled Halloween colors because orange is associated with the fall harvest and black is associated with death and darkness. Jack o’ Lanterns first originated in Ireland where the people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday. Costumes became common from the Celtic traditions because the ancient Celts thought that spirits roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.

Everything that happens on Halloween has a long history that dates back to over 2,000 years ago. So this year, when you are out going through haunted houses and dressing up in fun costumes, just appreciate that our traditions came from celebrating the end of a harvest and evolved to witches, ghosts, and snickers bars.

Happy Halloween!

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All About Halloween