History of Halloween

Essay by The_Student_123 May 2005

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The Halloween costumes, we celebrate each October 31st, began long ago. They come from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtic people lived about 2000 years ago in an area which we now call Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. The festival of Samhain marked the end of summer, the harvest season and the beginning of their new year. The Celtic people believed that on the night of the October 31st, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. They built huge bonfires and dressed in costumes to frighten the ghosts. The Celtic also offered the ghosts good things to eat.

The modern costumes of Halloween are similar to the costumes of the Celtic people because many immigrants came to America and brought their beliefs and traditions with them. The carving of a

Jack-O-Lantern is thought to come from the tradition of Irish children. They would carve potatoes or turnips and light them for their Halloween celebrations.

The name Jack came from an Irish man who people thought was so wicked neither heaven or the devil wanted him. Jack is thought to have roamed the earth looking for a place to rest.

Trick or treating is thought to have come from the English people when they celebrated the religious festival of "All Saints Day". On this day the poor would beg for food and would be given "Soul Cakes" to pray for the souls of the relatives of rich people.

Halloween in America is celebrated on October 31st. The celebrations are held in towns, schools, churches and homes. Most children still dress in costumes and continue to trick or treat in safe neighborhoods or attend festivals at churches in schools.