Q:

How was Halloween invented?

A:

Quick Answer

Halloween, or All Hallows' Eve, comes from the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain and was invented because the Pagans felt that October 31 was the one day out of the year that the boundary between the living and the dead overlapped. They believed the dead would come back to earth and cause illness or damaged crops. At that time, people participating in the Samhain festival would wear costumes and masks in an attempt to mimic evil spirits.

Continue Reading
How was Halloween invented?
Credit: Zing Images Digital Vision Getty Images

Full Answer

Trick-or-treating is a custom originating in the Middle Ages and one that millions of children still participate in today. The word "trick" was meant as a threat to homeowners that announced the intention of doing damage to property if no treat was given. In some states such as Iowa, Ohio and Massachusetts, trick-or-treating is sometimes called Beggars' Night. Trick-or-treating didn't make it to the United States until 1911.

The Jack-o'-lantern is also common throughout the world although the term for a carved pumpkin varies worldwide. There are several variations as to how this tradition started, but a popular legend involves a lazy farmer who traps the devil in an apple tree. The Jack-o'-lantern first appeared in the mid-17th century and is still a popular Halloween decoration today.

Learn more about Halloween

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some facts about Halloween?

    A:

    The holiday of Halloween derives from Hallowmas, is based on Samhain and has symbols tied to Wiccans from the Middle Ages. For example, bats, black cats and spiders are all important components of Halloween, and all were associated with witchcraft.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did Halloween come into being?

    A:

    Modern Halloween grew out of a number and ancient beliefs and practices, most notably the Gaelic Samhain and the Catholic All Saints Day. It is important to note that while Samhain dates back to before Roman times, it was Pope Gregory III who designated November first as All Saints Day.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were some of the original celebrations of All Hallows' Eve?

    A:

    All Hallow's Eve began as a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain. It was believed that at this time of year, the souls of those who died transitioned to the other world, allowing the ghosts of the dead to mingle with the living. To honor the dead, the Celts gathered for the sacrifice of fruits, vegetables and animals. Additionally, they lit bonfires to aid the dead's journey and keep them away from the living.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did Halloween originate?

    A:

    The word "Halloween" is a corruption of "All Hallows' Eve," the day before All Saints' Day, and it was initially a Catholic high feast day as well as a minor Celtic feast day. Medieval Catholics believed this was the night spirits were free to roam the earth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore