Halloween: A Brief History

Since today is Halloween, I thought it would be interesting to look into its history. How did Halloween come about? Who started it?

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, was thought to have originated 2000 years ago with the Celtic’s celebration of the festival of Samhain. November 1 marked their New Year, where the harvest ended and the cold, dark winter began. The Celts believed that the world of the living and the dead became mixed that day. So to pay homage to the spirits, the Celts dressed up in costumes, told each others’ fortunes and built large bonfires to burn crops and sacrifice animals.

The Celt’s lived in Ireland, United Kingdom and northern France and when they immigrated to America they brought their traditions with them. By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Halloween became quite popular and an accepted tradition in the United States. From the Celt’s early traditions we have evolved into our current Halloween culture.

I also read that the rituals in the 1800’s focused more on the future and how to help a young woman find her future husband. Here are some rituals that were practiced back then. Can you imagine doing that now?

  • In Ireland, a matchmaker cook would bury a ring in mashed potatoes and the person that would find it, would also find true love.
  • A Scottish tradition would have a girl name a hazelnut for each of her “suitors” and throw them into the fire. The one that would burn to ashes would be her future husband.
  • Another tradition is to have girl eat a concoction of walnuts, halzenuts and nutmeg before going to bed on Halloween and she would dream about her future husband.
  • Women would throw apple peels over their shoulders hoping they would fall into the shape of the initials of their husband to be.
  • For all you apple-bobbers out there looking for a man, legend has it that the first person to successfully bob for an apple will be the first one down the aisle.

If you want to read more about the history of Halloween I got my information from www.history.com/topics/Halloween.

I like the history of Halloween and how it has evolved. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the preparation, decorating, baking, costume hunting and seeing all the kids dressed up. It’s nice that at least on one day of the year we adults can be a little silly :).

Please trick-or-treat safely tonight.


About Vodka Infused Lemonade

I am mother to a toddler boy. I am wife to an amazing husband. I am perinatal nurse. I have found a new hobby of cake and cupcake decorating. You can see my work on Facebook at Agi's Creations. I love fashion, books, music, travel, food and anything to do with kids.
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9 Responses to Halloween: A Brief History

  1. Thanks for sharing the history of Halloween with us. People should know that there’s much more to it than costume parties and trick-or-treating. BTW, it still remains one of my favorite holidays too!

  2. Aki! says:

    This isn’t Halloween related, but girls used to try to peel an apple and if they could peel it all without breaking the skin, that meant their husband was soon to come!

  3. Tara says:

    Happy Halloween! I hope you enjoy your day!

  4. Haha, I love that the first one to bob for an apple will be walking down the aisle soon… 🙂

  5. Agi, what a great collection of facts! I knew the general history behind Halloween, but not all those additional details. Hope you’re having a great one!

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