The History of Halloween

Halloween dates back well over 6,000 years to the ancient fire festival of Samhain. Celts celebrated this day on November 1st — this is their New Year marking the end of Summer and the 3rd and final harvest of the season.

November Eve was believed to be the veil between realms — the veil so thin that the ghosts and the dead came back into our world. During this time, Celtic Priests made predictions about the future and people found these prophecies important sources of comfort and direction during a long, dark, harsh winter. Costumes were worn, fortune telling was told as well as story telling. The hearth was extinguished early on November Eve and re-lit from the sacred bonfire to protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D. Romans conquered most of Celtic territories, but not without a good fight! Within the course of 400 years, two Roman festivals were combined Feralia — a commemoration of the passing of the dead — and a day to honor Pomona the Goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple which is how bobbing for apples became incorporated into Samhain.

By the 800’s Christianity spread through Celtic lands and Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All Saints Day to honor all saints and martyrs. The Pope at this time was trying to replace the Celtic festivals with a related, but church sanctioned holiday.

Then around 1000 A.D. the church made November 2nd All Soul’s Day which was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, dressing in costumes as saints, angels, and devils…together these celebrations were called Hallowmas.

Halloween Comes to America
As Europeans came over with their different costumes, beliefs and ethnic groups as well as American Indian beliefs, a distinct American version of Halloween was born. Play parties, apple bobbing,celebrating the harvests, neighbors sharing stories of the dead, fortune telling, dancing, singing, bonfires…etc.

By 1846, America was flooded with Irish immigrants fleeing from deadly potato plague…this blended an Irish-American tradition of dressing up in costumes and going house to house asking for food or money…you guessed it, this is where Trick or Treating comes from.

What started as festivals celebrating the harvests and the dearly departed has since become largely a holiday fostering community and neighborhood goodwill.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Blessed Be,
Gina Rose ext.9500

21 thoughts on “The History of Halloween

  1. Pingback: Samhain - Out with the Old! | California Psychics Blog

  2. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Believer,
    You are most welcome…
    Well….I’ve trained psychics for over 28 years….I’ve written articles and my articles( and the rights ) were sold and published….I’m kind of burned out on writing, but I’ll see what I can do after Jan. 1st.
    ( I, personally, do not think I am a good writer ).
    What do you want me to write about ?????
    Anything special?????
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  3. Believer

    Dear Gina Rose,
    Just wanted to send a quick “thank you” for your interesting article on the history of Halloween.
    Wish you would share more of your wisdom with us in more articles here on the blog…as always, your wisdom is much appreciated.
    With Greatest Respect,
    Believer

    Reply
  4. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Carrie….
    Love the pic of your dog, by the way.
    What a cutie-pie !!!!!!
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  5. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hey there ,Lovely Duckling !!!!
    How are you ????
    Thank You, it was just a fun little article for Halloween I thought most would enjoy.
    Glad to hear from you.
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  6. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Carrie,
    The Irish ( and Scottish) immigrants also celebrated MayDay…..and dressed accordingly for that festival and celebration as well.
    Both are still widely celebrated in Europe today…bonfires mark both.
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  7. The Lovely Duckling

    Hi, Gina Rose!
    What a great and concise explanation you have given! I wish I’d had this last Friday to read to my students who asked me about Halloween! It would have answered their questions perfectly!
    Cheers,
    Duck ­čÖé

    Reply
  8. Carrie

    Hi Gina, I liked reading this blog because I really didnt know all of those details. What I was curious about was if the Irish immigrants only dressed up on Halloween or was that something they did quite often?
    Thanks
    Carrie

    Reply
  9. ccrider

    I really loved reading all the replys….everyone has something great to say…i won’t be in that league but i hope you find it amusing,,,we went to St. Agustine, Fl. it was a blast…this never happens…but we got a great FREE parking spot just steps away from St. George ST….all the bars were playing music and almost everyone walking around was in costume…it was very festive….I will go back next yr…as for ghosts..well we did not see one…but late that night I fell asleep in the living room and one of my packages fell of the table !!!! it awoke me and I just stared at it….shopping was my late Mother’s passion…jsut thought maybe it was her way of reviewing what I bought…I was so tired I dosed right back….but the night was great….

    Reply
  10. Fran

    Hi Jesse!
    How have you been, girl?! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. It was a beautiful, warm night here. Lots of children showed up, and they looked so cute. My kids now want to go out on their own with their friends, so I was feeling a bit of the empty nest syndrome yesterday.
    Any luck with the ghost hunting? Hope you write another article soon.
    Miss you!!
    Hugs,
    Fran

    Reply
  11. Fran

    Hi Gina,
    You want to know what’s really funny? After that happened, I called my cousin who lives back east. When I told him about the chair, he said (now repeat this with a NY accent), “Ya b@$t@%&! Now I won’t be able to go downstairs tonight!” (beccause it would be dark!). Hahahaha! And he’s older than I am! LOL!
    Yeah, I suppose the look on my face WAS priceless…..I don’t know how I managed to get up in the middle of the night! But seriously, because I felt that it was a loved one, I wasn’t frightened. Just amazed. Wow!
    Hope your weather clears up soon. Stay safe until then.
    Hugs,
    Fran

    Reply
  12. Carole Valpone

    My son was born on Halloween and I was told by a school mate that she was from a long line of gypsies and that any boy born on Halloween was considered a Prince of the Gypsies. In fact, she told me that the gypsies would also kidnap boys born on Halloween and take them as their Prince. HAS ANYBODY EVER HEARD OF THIS? I have never heard of it again and haven’t been able to find out any information regarding this. I would really like to know more. Thank you and Happy Halloween to ALL…

    Reply
  13. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Fran ,
    LOL…..I had to laugh…wished I could have seen the look on your face when the chair started moving !!!! he he he he..now THAT’S FUNNY !!!!
    But remember….if they loved you in life…they still love you just as much in death.
    Blessed Be )O( …Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  14. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Autumn Silver Sky,
    You made some excellent points…..
    ( I love thought provoking articles and programs as well…..I watch alot of Discovery channel and History channel when I have the time to do so).
    I hope you and your family and everybody has a great Halloween..it’s such a fun time of year.
    Blessed Be Autumn…..Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  15. Psychic - Jesse - x9027

    Great job again, Gina Rose!
    From all of us who are very busy today and will be VERY busy tonight ;-), thank you for clarifying and informing those who may not understand the importance of this most blessed and wonderful time of year.
    Blessed be to Thee, my dear one!
    Blessed Samhain and New Year!
    Jesse 9027

    Reply
  16. Fran

    Dear Gina Rose,
    Thank you for the article. I’m familiar with the veil. It was during this time 2 years ago that I had a visit from a departed loved one. I was sitting at my dining room table when suddenly the chair next to me was PUSHED away from the table! My cat Rocky was also well-aware of the visit, having witnessed it with me. He wouldn’t stop staring at that chair for hours afterwards! I’m surprised I wasn’t as frightened as I thought I would be, especially since I was home alone. Oh, and did I mention that I’m a chicken??? Anyway, I like to think that it was my grandfather coming for a visit.
    Wishing you a wonderful, blessed holiday.
    Love,
    Fran

    Reply
  17. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Jesse,
    Thank You and I hope you had a wonderful & blessed Samhain & Happy New Year to you and yours too.
    I responded to you in the other section….the section where you had stated how nice it was to have a partner caring enough to bring you breakfast in bed. I totally agree with you.
    Anyway….have a great weekend.
    Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  18. Autumn Silver Sky

    I love the artcle on Halloween and how it became. I love history and having family in Ireland, Scotland, as well as here in the U.S. religion is an interesting subject. I have family members of both Pagans and Christian beliefs. But there was something left out about All Saints. There was more to this of why the dates May 13 and then to Nov 1 was chosen.
    Pagan beliefs have been aroound for almost 7,000 yaers, well before christianity. Anyway,I’m sure everyone is familar with the bloody battles bewteen the two beliefs.
    In 603 Pope Boniface VI announced All Saints on May 13 to countervail a popular Pagan holiday, Lemures.
    Then Gregory IV changed the date of ALL Saints to Nov 1, A direct attack on long practicing European Pagans Sabbat of Samhain. This was done to try to eradicate the paggan sabbats. Is it any coincedence that christian holidays are on most paggan holidays and that their means mock paggans beliefs as well. This by no means is an attack on anyone. I love history and wanted to throw some facts in there, just so people can sit back and think. Thnik of how it must have been like in those eras. Its amazing when one can sit back in a non-bias way and look at history from both sides.
    ~ Autumn Silver Sky

    Reply
  19. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Merry Meet Lady Tara,
    As a hereditary ( Celtic ) Wiccan elder I wish you a beautiful celebration….
    Blessed Be )O(…..Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply
  20. Rev. Donna Tara Lee, AKA Lady Tara

    I shall be celebrating the solemn festival of zsamhien with follow practicioners of the aincient but truthful ways.
    Rev. Donna Tara Lee AKA Lady Tara Pagan Priestess.

    Reply
  21. Francis Pimentel-Pinto

    The feast of All Saints is mentioned in the works of St Ephrem of Syria (died 373). In St John Chrysostom (+407) the feast is assigned to the first Sunday after Pentecost. In the West the feast did not become established until the consecration of the Pantheon at Rome to Christian usage by Boniface IV (Pope from 608-615) on May 13 609 or 610. From then on the annual commemoration of ‘All Saints’ was made on May 13. It seems that its observance on Nov 1 dates from the time of Gregory III (+741), who dedicated on that day a chapel in the basilica of St Peter to “All the Saints”. Gregory IV (died 844)in 835 ordered its universal observance. OriginalLY the feast was called ALL HALLOWS in English, and the night before was called ALL HALLOWS EVE, which became known as HALLOWEEN.

    Reply

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