Halloween is a holiday that has been celebrated for centuries, with its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain was a pagan religious celebration to welcome the harvest at the end of summer, when people would light bonfires and don costumes to ward off ghosts. In the 19th century, there was an effort in the United States to transform Halloween into a holiday more related to community and neighborhood gatherings than to ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. The popularity of trick-or-treating skyrocketed in the 1950s, making Halloween a true national event. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaker cook could bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.
To comprehend what some of the first spooky Halloween festivities were like, it is essential to look back at the different demons and ghosts that people used to fear, what people carved instead of pumpkins, and even what Valentine's Day and Halloween have in common. The Celts believed that on October 31st, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On this night, they believed that spirits of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate their beliefs, they celebrated Samhain. During this festival, people would light bonfires and don costumes made of animal skins.
They also offered sacrifices and food to their gods in hopes of warding off evil spirits. In addition to bonfires and costumes, people also carved turnips instead of pumpkins. This tradition was brought over from Ireland by immigrants who settled in America. They believed that carving turnips would ward off evil spirits. Eventually, pumpkins became more popular because they were easier to carve. Valentine's Day and Halloween have more in common than you might think.
In ancient Rome, February 14th was celebrated as Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. During this festival, men would sacrifice goats and dogs, then whip women with the hides of these animals in order to make them fertile. Later on, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine's Day. Halloween has come a long way since its ancient Celtic roots.
It has evolved from a pagan religious celebration into a national event celebrated by millions around the world. From bonfires and costumes to pumpkins and Valentine's Day connections, Halloween has a rich history that is still celebrated today.