A Spooky Timeline

Over 2000 years ago:

Halloween’s original creators came from the Celtic religion. The Celts were usually found in areas that are currently known as the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland areas. The ancient Celtic festival, Samhain, is believed to be the beginning of what we know as Halloween. Samhain was celebrated because the end of October was considered the end of harvest. The end of harvest was recognized as the end of the year for the Celts, this was their time to celebrate the end of the year. To celebrate, the Celts believed that on the night of October 31st the dead returned to earth annually. The Celts feared evil so while attending Samhain, they lit bonfires and dressed in costume to disguise themselves from evil.

A.D 680:

Christianity spread across the Celtic regions. Pope Boniface IV essentially began All Saints Day with the Pantheon in Rome to honor all Christian martyrs. He originally dedicated the feast on May 13th.  

Mid-8th Century: 

During the mid-eighth century, Pope Gregory III changed the date of the Pantheon to November 1st and also added all saints to the celebration. He then changed the name from Pantheon to All Saints Day. 

1000 A.D.: 

The Catholic Church then added All Souls Day making the two day holiday a trio. All Souls Day takes place on November 2nd every year. All Souls Day was originally celebrated the same way the Samhain festival was. We still observe All Souls Day to honor and celebrate the dead today. 

All Saints Day used to be referred to as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas. This explains where All-Hallows-Eve came from. We have evolved All-Hallows-Eve to what is called Halloween today.  

1840s: 

When the Irish Potato Famine came about in 1841, Irish immigrants came to America all at once. Because the Celts were mostly in Northern Ireland, Halloween was a very popular holiday in the 1840s for most of the Irish. Once the Irish immigrants came to America, the holiday became popular here as well. 

Late 1800s:

During the late 1800s there was a push to make Halloween less scary and to create a neighborly holliday instead. The media tried to convince parents to not allow their children to dress up as something scary or grim. Because of this, Halloween lost a lot of the religious connotations.

1900s:

By the 1920s -1950s, Halloween parties became a part of the Halloween festivities that made Halloween a popular holiday among people across America. Parties were popular among both adults and children. The practice of trick-or-treating became extremely possible during this time in history. Trick-or-treating became extremely popular like it had been in the past. Trick-or-treating came about in the 1950s. The tradition has grown since. Halloween movies also became a popular phenomenon in America during this time.

Today:

Halloween is rarely associated with the Catholic religion, however, the Catholic religion plays a huge role in the history of the holiday. All Saints Day and All Souls Day is still celebrated by Catholics everywhere. These two days are to remind us to pray for our saints and all souls that have been taken from earth and to remind us that this holiday is important for us to take time to pray for those we have lost and reflect on what they have sacrificed for us. 

Sources: History.com, https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

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