Ahhh… Finally we are officially in October and the first thing that comes to my mind is Halloween… Well that could also be because it is my birthday – which is the most awesome day for a birthday if you ask me – but anyway… It is time to get talking about the history of Halloween, or as some prefer to call it, All Hallow’s Eve!!!
Halloween was celebrated as a Christian holiday which is rooted from the Celtic holiday, Samhein (pronounced sow-in). This celebration was at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. It was believed that on October 31st the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the dead would come back to life and ruin crops and trick the living.
The history of trick or treating goes like this… In the Middle-Ages it was not called trick or treating of course, it was called “souling” or “guising” (meaning disguising), children, and sometimes even poor adults, would dress up and go door to door begging for food or money in return for praying for their families on behalf of the dead. But the term “trick or treating” itself actually dates back to 1927 in Alberta, Canada, and did not take place here in the U.S. till the mid-1930’s.
The history of the Jack O’Lantern is a good one, it comes from a legend hundreds of years ago in Irish History about Stingy Jack, a miserable old drunk who liked to play tricks on everyone. One day he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree, once he did Stingy Jack placed crosses around the trunk of the tree so the Devil was unable to get down. Stingy Jack made the Devil to promise not to take his soul when he died and once the Devil promised Stingy Jack removed the crosses. Many years later when Jack died he was not allowed into Heaven because he was too cruel and he could not get into Hell because of the promise made so he roamed between the darkness of Heaven and Hell. When he asked the Devil how he could leave him where there was no light the Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help light his way. Jack then placed the ember into a hollowed out Turnip and from that day onward Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place lighting his way as he went with his “Jack O’Lantern”.