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

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© 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.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4091

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 27, 2015 3435

Online Petition Seeking Re­opening of Shanice…

by Samantha Carver, SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3299

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
April 27, 2015 2852

Hopkins County Drug War ― Are We Winning?

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2738

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15376

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8434

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 02, 2015 1161

Frymire’s Life Accomplishments, Dedication to MCC…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 1066

Two Injured During Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 01, 2015 873

Above and Beyond: Leighann Stroud

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 718

Don't Bet on Supreme Court Overturning Marriage…

by Richard Nelson
May 02, 2015 655

Homegrown by Heroes Receives Donation from…

by Ted Sloan
May 02, 2015 622

Weeknight activities the whole family can enjoy

by SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 588

New Mather Metals to Expand in Franklin

by Office of the Governor
May 02, 2015 580

Baptist Health Hosts Annual ‘Bike Safety Day’

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 552

Hooked on Science - 'Kentucky Derby Balloon Race'

by Jason Lindsey