The First Halloweens
Happy Samhain! Doesn’t sound quite the same, does it? More than 2,000 years ago, The Celts occupied the lands that are now Ireland, the UK and northern France, and celebrated Samhain, in lieu of Halloween, on October 31. Why, you ask? The answer is a dark one.
To them, November 1 marked the end of a happy summer and harvest and the start of a darker and colder time of year, often associated with human death. Naturally, the eve prior to this date had the Celts believing that the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth, damaging their crops and taking the souls of their friends along the way.
After the Roman Empire conquered most of the Celtic territories, their own customs were combined with Samhain, and All Saints Day (or All-hallowmas in Middle English) was to be celebrated on November 1, thus making the night before All Hallows Eve.
Coming to America
Transitioning Halloween to America wasn’t easy, and celebrations were limited in colonial New England due to their religious beliefs. The farther south you went, though, the more widely-recognized the night became. In Maryland, stories of the dead were shared on Halloween, and fortunes were told.
As immigrants began flooding America, Halloween became popularized on a national scale. They used the night, as per Irish and English traditions, to dress in costume, going door-to-door for food or money. Sound familiar? That’s the origin of trick-or-treating.
Today, Halloween is the second-most commercialized holiday in the United States. While its origins of preparing for the end of the harvest have ceased, telling ghostly tales and dressing up have remained integral facets of the holiday. Now, though, it’s easy for everybody to get involved, as adults still get to instill temporary fear into their friends, and children get to emulate their favorite superheroes and princesses as they go door-to-door begging for candy.
If you have plans to keep the tradition alive this October, there’s no better place to start than Costume Discounters. Help the holiday evolve by grabbing one of our newest costumes for Halloween 2015.