The traditions of modern Halloween -- costumes, ghosts, trick-or-treat -- come from a number of ancient civilizations. According to the History website, most experts believe that this spooky holiday stems from the Celtic festival of Samhain.Know More
Some 2,000 years ago, the Celts celebrated their new year on Nov. 1. To them, this date symbolized death because it was the beginning of wintry darkness. Consequently, they believed that the border between life and death was softened on the night before the new year, Oct. 31, and that the spirits of the dead came back to Earth to destroy their crops and cause mischief. In response, the Celts wore animal-themed costumes and threw crops and animals into the raging bonfire to summon the protection of deities.
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III made Nov. 1 a holiday in which to remember saints and martyrs. This celebration, called All Saints' Day, included a few Samhain customs. The night before All Saints' Day, or All Hallows' Eve, eventually became Halloween. A pagan festival of the Dead and All Souls Day also contributed to modern Halloween customs. For instance, some believe that trick-or-treating probably stems from All Souls Day parades in England, where the poor would beg attendees for food.
Today's Halloween is a time for children to dress up in spooky costumes and go to people's houses for candy and other treats or for adults to attend costumed parties.Learn more about Halloween
The origins of Halloween lie in an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was a festival of the dead. The festival was traditionally held on the day of the official start of winter on the Celtic calendar, which corresponds to November 1 on the modern calendar.Full Answer >
Americans celebrate Halloween because it was brought to the United States by early settlers, specifically those from Ireland. Although small Halloween celebrations occurred in colonial times, the large influx of Irish immigrants in the 19th century contributed to the nationwide popularity of the holiday.Full Answer >
The night before Halloween is commonly called Mischief Night, particularly in the state of New Jersey. In some areas of New York State, the night is referred to as Goosey Night or Hell Night, while other areas in the New England area use the name Cabbage Night or Gate Night. In the Detroit region, people call it Devil's Night, while in the North and South Dakota states, the night is called Mat Night.Full Answer >
The origins of Halloween date back to Celtic paganism and the feast of Samhain in the British Isles, which Celts believed was when spirits came into the world. The Celts put out treats to placate the spirits for another year. Halloween also has aspects of a Roman harvest feast that celebrated the goddess Pomona.Full Answer >