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Origins and History of Halloween
– The word ‘Halloween’ originates from ‘All Hallows Eve’ in Old English.
Halloween is linked to Christian holy days like All Hallows Day and All Souls Day.
– Major Christian feasts historically had vigils that started the night before.
– Allhallowtide is a period to honor all saints and pray for the departed.
– The commemoration of saints and martyrs dates back to the 4th century.
Halloween may have been influenced by Celtic harvest festivals like Samhain.
– Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween customs to North America.
– The celebration of All Hallows Eve has evolved over centuries.
– The tradition of trick-or-treating likely stems from sharing soul cakes.
– Lighting candles on graves and visiting cemeteries are common Halloween practices.

Popular Traditions of Halloween
– Trick-or-treating, costume parties, and pumpkin carving are common activities.
– Bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, and pranks are associated with Halloween.
– Some Christians observe All Hallows Eve by attending church services.
– Soul cakes, apples, and other vegetarian foods are traditional Halloween fare.
– Watching horror films, visiting haunted attractions, and telling scary stories are popular pastimes.

Cultural Significance and Spread of Halloween
Halloween has become a celebration of horror and the supernatural in popular culture.
– Various countries have adopted Halloween customs due to American influence.
– The holiday is associated with remembering the dead, including saints and martyrs.
– Different theories exist on the Christian and pagan origins of Halloween.
– The festival’s customs and practices have evolved and spread globally.
Halloween was not widely celebrated in North America until Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century.
– American Halloween traditions were inherited from the Irish and Scots.
Halloween was assimilated into mainstream American society by the early 20th century.
– American influence spread Halloween traditions to many other countries by the late 20th century.

Traditional Practices and Symbols of Halloween
– Lanterns made from turnips were used for souling in the past.
– The tradition of lighting candles on graves continues in some regions.
– Costumes worn on Halloween may have originated to avoid vengeful spirits.
– In some areas, food and libations are left out for returning souls.
– Allhallowtide customs like soul cakes and lighting candles have influenced modern Halloween practices.
– Traditional symbols include skeletons, ghosts, cobwebs, headstones, and witches.
– Jack-o-lanterns were carried by guisers to frighten evil spirits.
– Turnips were traditionally carved in Ireland and Scotland, but pumpkins were used in North America.
Halloween imagery is influenced by Christian eschatology, Gothic literature, and horror films.

Modern Practices and Development of Halloween Traditions
Halloween traditions in North America were influenced by Anglican and Catholic colonists.
– Puritans in New England strongly opposed Halloween and other traditional celebrations.
– Almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries show limited Halloween celebrations in North America.
Halloween became a major holiday in America after Irish and Scottish immigration.
Halloween traditions spread to other countries through American influence.
– Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween.
– Children go in costume from house to house asking for treats.
– Guising involved people going house-to-house in disguise or costume for food.
Halloween costumes traditionally featured figures like vampires, ghosts, and witches.
– Costume selection expanded to include popular characters and archetypes like ninjas and princesses.

Halloween (Wikipedia)

Halloween or Hallowe'en (less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve) is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It is at the beginning of the observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. In popular culture, the day has become a celebration of horror, being associated with the macabre and supernatural.

Carving a jack-o'-lantern is a common Halloween tradition.
Also called
  • Hallowe'en
  • All Hallowe'en
  • All Hallows' Eve
  • All Saints' Eve
Observed byWestern Christians and many non-Christians around the world
TypeChristian, cultural
SignificanceFirst day of Allhallowtide
CelebrationsTrick-or-treating, costume parties, making jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, divination, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions
ObservancesChurch services, prayer, fasting, vigil
Date31 October
Related toSamhain, Hop-tu-Naa, Calan Gaeaf, Allantide, Day of the Dead, Reformation Day, All Saints' Day, Mischief Night (cfvigil)

One theory holds that many Halloween traditions were influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, which are believed to have pagan roots. Some go further and suggest that Samhain may have been Christianized as All Hallow's Day, along with its eve, by the early Church. Other academics believe Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, being the vigil of All Hallow's Day. Celebrated in Ireland and Scotland for centuries, Irish and Scottish immigrants took many Halloween customs to North America in the 19th century, and then through American influence various Halloween customs spread to other countries by the late 20th and early 21st century.

Popular Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins or turnips into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror or Halloween-themed films. Some people practice the Christian observances of All Hallows' Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, although it is a secular celebration for others. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows' Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.

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