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The Origins of Halloween

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Harsh Sompura

on 8 November 2014

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Transcript of The Origins of Halloween

Halloween In Ireland
In the beginning, before Halloween was actually recognized, only small Irish settlements celebrated it
Only in 1848 did the rise of popularity and spirit occur
Ireland is the only place in the world where Halloween is actually a national holiday celebrated with fireworks and children are released from school for the week
Celtic Roots
Halloween came from the Celtic celebration Samhain, which was New Years Eve in ancient times
“This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.” - The History Channel Exhibits- History of Halloween
Samhain was the feast of the dead, which also marked the end of the summer
Paganism & Halloween
Halloween itself originated in paganism, and the customs are related to pagan beliefs
In ancient Ireland and Britain, The Celtic festival of Samhain was on October 31st - the end of summer
The souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes that day
The Autumn festival had a sinister significance such as - ghosts, witches, goblins, back cats, fairies, and demons were supposed to be roaming around that night
Medieval Times and Witchcraft
The idea of women out alone in the woods is also pagan
People became worried that they were making potions for evil instead of medicine for people
This was all happening during medieval times- when the idea of evil women arose
It was mostly women victimized because, at that time, women were perceived as weak or weaker than men, meaning they were more susceptible to evil
Then began the stereotype of how these medieval women would look- such as black clothing, black hats, and perhaps a broom because it was a common household item
Origins of Traditions Cont....
Video: 26 Not-So-Scary Facts About Halloween - mental_floss List Show (Ep.228)
Origins of Traditions Cont.
Trick or Treating
Origins of Traditions
The jack o lantern has misconceptions of its origins such as: the carved pumpkin may have began with the witches collection of skulls with a candle in each to light the way to coven meetings
But actually it took form from the Legend of Irish Jack (which has many variations):
A man named Jack once tricked the devil, and forced him to never go for his soul. The devil had to reluctantly agree. When Jack died, he was denied from heaven for his drunken acts, and also by the devil, who wanted his revenge. While leaving hell, he was eating a turnip, when the devil threw a hot coal at him. Jack put it into his turnip, and roamed the earth with his "Jack-O'lantern". This was later evolved into a pumpkin, due to being easier to use.
The Origins of Halloween
By Harsh Sompura, Bianca Wu, and Sama Srinivas
Dia de los Muertos
Countries that Celebrate Halloween (or its variants)
The Mexican Day of the Dead, better known as Dia de los Muertos, is one of Mexico's more recognized holidays.

Deceased ancestors "come back from the dead" to visit their families as ghosts on Oct. 31st and "go home" on Nov. 2nd
Foods eaten on this holiday include 'sugar skulls'
and 'bread of the dead'
Elaborate altars are fashioned as a memorial; include many symbols: La Catrina and marigolds - also include pictures of the deceased
Aside from Mexico, holiday is celebrated in many other populated Latin areas as well
Many countries all over the world celebrate Halloween or its close relative holidays
Top Ten Countries:
United States
Paganism & Halloween Cont.
Medieval Times and Witchcraft Cont.
Samhain was the day where there were supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature, according to the Celts.
It was also the most favorable time for divination concerning marriage, luck, health, and death.
The idea that they would fly on these brooms and fly into the sky to do no good got combined into halloween (though it cannot be proved)
During medieval times, people took the accusation of being a witch very, very seriously
The Wicked Witch of the West is the ultimate expression of the typical witch stereotype
The tradition of wearing costumes probably arose from Guy Fawke's day, where the tradition of wearing "masquerade" clothes arose
The custom of wearing costumes didn't catch on until the 1900's but then became an integral part of the holiday
Costumes were also used to ward away evil spirits
Bobbing for Apples
Early Halloweens were associated a lot with divination
It was said that slicing an apple at midnight on Halloween would make your future love appear in the mirror
This evolved into the modern version
Going into the Middle Ages, there is a very long history on gifting during major holidays
It was customary for the wealthy to show the poor people charity on such occasions
Another theory:
Around 1000 AD children would go door to door handing out "soul cakes" to their neighbors
Full transcript