When people think of Halloween, they think of trick or treating, parades other family friendly activities . However, it goes back to the ancient Celtic Pagan festival known as Samhain. Samhain was usually celebrated on November 1st which marked the end of the Celtic year. It also meant it was the end of summer. So with that, a huge harvest festival was celebrated and they had bon fires. However the evening before November 1st (October 31st) was the time when people were the most superstitious.
People actually thought the dead returned as ghosts. People during these times would leave food and wine for these wondering spirits. They also were afraid of the ghosts, so they would disguise themselves with masks! Why did they do this? Well, they wanted the ghosts to see them as fellow ghosts. The Christians turned it into “All Saints” or “ All Hallows” in the 8th century. The night before became All Hallow’s eve, later shorten for Halloween!
You all heard of Trick or Treating, but what about SOULING OR GUISING! These traditions again happened in medieval Britain.
Souling,usually took place on November 2nd. During this time, the poor and children would beg for pastries that were known as soulcakes. These cakes were usually filled with many yummy treats such as allspice, nutmeg, raisins , currants, cinnamon, ginger or other sweet spices. In return for the soul cakes, the poor and children were asked to pray for the dead.
Another tradition was known as GUISING: Young people would usually dress up in costumes and accept food, wine and other offerings. In return for these items they were asked to sing, recite poetry or tell a joke.
However, in the 19th century, Irish and Scottish immigrants would bring their old traditions aka Halloween to North America. One of these traditions was trick or treating, at first it was more about pranks . However this dramatically changed in the 1950s, it became a family friendly event. THIS IS KNOWN AS TODAY’S HALLOWEEN!