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Halloween History

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Where did Halloween begin?  Halloween today has considerably changed from it’s beginnings.  The holiday originated from traditional festivities a long time ago and evolved over several thousand years according to the History Channel.  Halloween is a holiday for everybody to enjoy.  Watch the short video below.

History of Halloween in America by the History Channel

In America most people think of Halloween when they participate in Trick or Treating, Parades, Bobbing for Apples, and other Family-Friendly activities.

Samhain

However, Halloween originated 2000 years in the ancient festival known as Samhain.  Samhain was celebrated on November 1st.  On the night before (October 31st), it was believed that the dead returned as ghosts.  The people would leave food and wine on their doorsteps to keep the  ghosts from entering.  When they left the house, the people would wear masks as ghosts so the ghosts would think they were other ghosts.

All Saints Day

The Christian church turned Samhain into All Saints Day or All Hallows in the 8th century.  The night before became All Hallows’ eve and later on Halloween.

Souling or Guising

We know what trick or treating is.  Do you know what souling or guising is?  Souling started in medieval Britain on All Souls Day (November 2nd), the needy would beg for soul cakes.  In return they would pray for the deceased, no more plague, no more famine, and good weather.  Young people would dress up in costumes and accept food, money, wine, and other offerings for singing, citing poetry, or telling jokes.  This was known as guising.

In the19th century America, Irish and Scottish immigrants revived souling/guising.  It became known as trick-or-treating.  At first, there were more tricks such as pranks and hijinks than treats. 

Not until the 1950s did Halloween take on it’s family-friendly and kid-centered tradition.  Now Halloween is the second most popular holiday after Christmas.

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