Many students at our school ask us about the history of Halloween, and because the spooky holiday is coming soon, we thought we would answer that question!
Halloween actually has a very long history and comes from the Celts, a group of people who mainly lived in the area we now know as Ireland as well as other parts of the UK and northern France. Nearly 2000 years ago, the Celts had a festival in the fall called Samhain where people tried to chase away evil spirits that might cause trouble or damage crops before winter started. The Celts had large fires and wore costumes in celebration of the festival.
Later in the year 609 AD, the Catholic church became powerful in Europe, and the leader of the Catholic church, who is known as the Pope, declared that November 1st was a holiday called All Saints Day. This holiday celebrated saints, important people who led the Catholic church. However, the night before All Saints’ Day became known as All Hollow’s Eve. It was inspired by harvest festivals like Samhain which tried to ward off bad spirits. Many traditions like lighting fires and carving scary faces into vegetables like turnips and pumpkins became common. Later, the name was combined into one word, Halloween!
Eventually, Halloween was brought to America about 1,000 years later, and many people in the area of New England celebrated the holiday they brought from Europe. It became more and more popular as time went on and that is why we still celebrate the holiday today.
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