Question: How did Halloween first originate?
Answer: Here are a selection of historical trivia and facts about Halloween, some common and others less well known.
Halloween is celebrated in countries throughout the world each year on the 31st of October.
Earlier and alternative names for Halloween include All Hallows’ Evening, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Eve and Samhain.
The name All Hallows’ Eve refers to October 31st being the eve of All Hallows which is a Western Christian Feast.
The exact roots and history of Halloween are not totally clear with people holding differing views.
The most common view held among historians is that All Hallows’ Eve began with the Pagan’s in Western Europe and more specifically Celtic lands.
Origins can be traced back to the Gaelic festival of Samhain which marked the end of the years summer harvest and the beginning of the darker winter. Samhain specifically was celebrated in Ireland, the Isle Of Man and Scotland with other similar festivals held in other Celtic territories.
The word Samhain means end of summer.
Before pumpkins became the Halloween vegetable of choice, Irish children would carve out and light up turnips and potatoes to be used as Jack-O-Lanterns.
The carving of pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns comes from the Samhain tradition of carving turnips to create lanterns in order to remember souls held in purgatory.
When Irish and Scottish people migrated to North America they began using the pumpkin instead which is native to those lands. They found the pumpkin better for making lanterns with as it can be much bigger and softer for carving than turnips.
Pumpkins are in fact fruits in scientific terms, not vegetables. This is due to them containing seeds and developing from flowers.
Trick or Treating originally developed from the All Soul’s Day tradition of “souling” where the villages poor would go knocking on houses door to door in order to beg residents for food.
All Soul’s Day takes place on November the 2nd each year.