The history of halloween is a long and complex. And the ancient beginnings of Halloween are even contested if you ask various groups of people! But let’s go through some of the more widely believed and confirmed details of the fun and meaningful holiday.
Besides being a time of much superstition, it is a holiday steeped in tradition. With it’s origins coming from the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced: ‘sow-in’), meaning Summers End, in which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts and spirits as it was believed the veil between the living and the spirit world was thin and the growing darkness as the seasons moved into Winter made people superstitious.
It was widely believed that on October 31st, spirits who passed on would roam the earth looking for their loved ones. It became tradition not only to light candles in windows to help guide them but to light jack-o-lanterns to keep away bad spirits.
It wasn’t until the 8th century that Pope Gregory III tried to take control of the pagan holiday and declared that November first be a time to celebrate and honor all the saints and martyrs, thus the dawn of All Saint’s Day.
These days we get to reap the benefits of centuries of mulling and melding together of beautiful traditions and superstitions into what is now the great holiday of our modern times.
So if you believe the veil is thin, light those jack-o-lanterns and leave a candle in your window for your loved ones and don’t for get to keep some candy by your door, otherwise you might just end up with some tricks!