By KAYLEE BECKER-GEORGE – With Halloween right around the corner, students have started buying costumes and making plans. Yet, how much do students actually know about how Halloween came to be? Freshman David Lenze says, “I don’t know [where Halloween originated from].” Another freshman Joel Beckwith says, “I want to say China.”
Freshman Dustin Miller says, “I’m pretty sure it comes from some sort of festival a long time ago.” Miller was actually very close. Halloween, also known as Hallowe’en, is believed to have many Celtic roots. The Celts had their new year on November 1st, so they believed that on the night of October 31st, the lines between life and death became blurred, resulting in ghosts returning from the dead.
Celts believed that the spirits damaged their crops and caused trouble. However, they also believed that the Druids, Celtic priests, could sense the future more clearly on that night. In those times, Druids and their visions provided comfort for many people.
On the night of October 31, the Celts would throw a festival known as Samhain. They would light large bonfires, burn crops, and sacrifice animals to their gods. During the celebrations, the Celtics would wear costumes such as animal heads and such.
Many years later, a long time after the Celts were taken over by the Romans, All Saints Day, a day to honor dead saints, was declared on November first. Christianity had already spread to the where the Celts lived, so as both combined, October 31st became All-Hallows Eve, then, Halloween.
Americans, borrowing from the Irish and English traditions, started dressing up and going around asking for food, which then became trick-or-treating. At some point, the holiday became more about community than trickery, and partying became a common thing for people too old to trick-or-treat.
Halloween started a long time ago and to this day, people still celebrate it. Whether or not students are still trick-or-treating or are just getting dressed up and going to a party with friends, the old tradition of Samhain had a large part in making it all possible.
[Photo by Dustin Miller]
Photo Caption: “Freshman Kharis Bohn researches the history of Halloween during her lunch period.”