black cat 300U.S. (10/30/13) – Spanning the line between fall and winter, life and death, Halloween is a time for celebration and superstitions. Halloween is believed to have originated from a Celtic Festival called Samhain, where people would dress up in costumes and build bonfires to ward off roaming ghosts.

The Celts celebrated their new year on Nov. 1, which marked the end of their summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter and a time associated with death. The Celts also believe that the night before the new year, the edge between the living and the dead became distorted. They believed that on the night of Oct. 31, the ghosts had risen from the dead to roam the earth. The Celts celebrated Samhain. During the celebration, they wore costumes that mainly consisted of animal heads and skins and would attempt to read their fortunes.

The Celts were worried the Druids would take the presence of spirits and “predict” the future. For those who were dependent on the unstable natural world, the prophecies that were made were an important source of comfort and direction during the cold long winter. To commemorate the celebration, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where people would gather to sacrifice animals and burned crops to the Celtic deities.

When Halloween came to America, the celebration was very limited in colonial New England because of the Protestant belief system. Halloween was more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As beliefs and customs of different European ethnicities as well as the Native Americans merged, a new American version of Halloween began to transpire.
 
Some of the very first celebrations included “play parties,” which consisted of public events that celebrated the harvest, where people would share their stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, and sing and dance. Other festivities also included telling ghost stories and mischief-making. Even though by the middle of the 19th century, annual autumn festivities were common, Halloween was not celebrated throughout the country just yet.

By the mid-19th century, America became flooded with immigrants, especially the Irish fleeing from the Ireland potato famine, which helped to popularize the Halloween celebrations nationally. Taking from both Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up and go house to house asking for money and food, which would later be known as today’s “trick or treat” tradition.

As the late 19th century rolled in, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more for the community and neighborly get-togethers than about pranks, ghosts and witchcraft.

Over time, Halloween has evolved into a community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities.

Amber Averitt
SurfKY News

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

DC Babe Ruth League Registration Set for Saturday

OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/25/15) — The Owensboro-Daviess County Babe Ruth League will hold registration for the 2015 season… Read More

Eagles Outlast Daviess County, 42-39

OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/26/15) — Junior guard Eli Wright scored a game-high 18 points and sophomore forward Trace Young… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6274

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 5441

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 24, 2015 5223

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 5123

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5051

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 4772

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 25, 2015 5441

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 5123

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 4020

Local Man Makes Unique Display from Area’s…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1954

Woman Charged for Allegedly Selling Hydrocodone

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 1865

Emergency Management Director Impressed with…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 1813

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
February 25, 2015 1772

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - February 25, 2015

in Video by Crime Stoppers
February 26, 2015 1732

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 1698

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 25, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 25, 2015 1564

People Plus, Inc. Wins Inavero’s 2015 Best of…

in Top News For All Sites by Amanda Huddleston