Halloween

 

Two milleniums ago in the in the Celtic lands, the Celts, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day ended the summer harvest and the beginning of the winter, which was asscociated with death. The night before the new year, as Celts believed, the dead and living can mix. On October 31, Samhain was celebrated, and the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The ghosts would destroy crops and pull pranks. Celts believed these spirits made it much easier for the Druids to make prophecies. Prophecies were important to them to help them know what would happen to them over the winter.

Celts wore animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's futures. When the celebration was over, they lit their hearth fires from the sacred fire they had made to warm them for the winter.

By 43 A.D., Romans had captured most of the Celtic lands. Two Roman traditions were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans celebrated the passing of the dead. The second was to honor Pomona, the Roman fruit goddess.

By the 800s, the missionaries of Roman Catholicism had converted Celts. In the 600s, Pope Boniface IV made November 1 All Saints' Day, a day in which they honored the matrys and saints of Roman Catholicism. It is believed today that the Boniface was attempting to replace the Celtic festival with a similar, but religious holiday. The celebration was also known as All-hallows or All-hallowmas and Samhain, the day before it, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, finally, Halloween.


Text, html, background, banner: Connor D., Buttons & Links: Matt B., Julian Middle School

Source:
"Ancient Origins." The History Channel. The History Channel. Jan.-Feb. 2006 <http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/halloween/?page=origins>.

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