By Mansi Patel

“Ding dong!” goes the bell over and over during the famous celebration of Halloween. Kids dressed up in costumes asking for candy is actually a relatively new idea, considering that the original Halloween tradition started about 2,000 years ago. Many people celebrate Halloween without truly understanding where it really originated from and why.

Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, whose people would wear costumes to ward off ghosts. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in what is now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France. They celebrated their New Year on Nov. 1, and celebrated the now known tradition of Halloween on Oct. 31.

The day of Halloween was given its name, All Hallows Eve, by the Celts. The Celts believed the unearthly spirits would damage crops, therefore, they would dress up in costumes to ward those unwanted spirits away. They also believed that the presence of the spirits allowed the Druids, also known as the Celtic priests, to look into the future during this special night. These predictions were very important to the Celtics because of their strong belief of prophecies and what will be coming in the future.

In the second half of the 19th century, many immigrants who were affected by the Irish Potato Famine fled to the United States, and brought with them the celebration of Halloween. There are many superstitions that come with Halloween, such as black cats, witches, ghouls, pumpkins and more. In the late 1800s, Halloween became more about getting together with the community instead of ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.

At the turn of the century, Halloween became more about games, foods that represented Halloween, festive costumes and having a day dedicated to fun and candy. Right now, high school students go out on Halloween night to visit haunted mansions, spend time with friends goofing around and to get some candy to last the rest of the year.

Though many children trick-or-treat on Halloween starting from elementary school or earlier, we must not forget the origins of this tradition that started as a day to rid one’s life and community of trouble and fear. ◆

 

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