In the Beginning

Photo by Ranger Staff

The origin of halloween

By Tanner Willis

What is today’s Halloween began more than 2,000 years ago as the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The Celtic year began on Nov. 1, marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, which often was associated with death.

It was during this time when people would prepare for the winter by choosing which animals to slaughter

The weather would insure that the meat would keep since it would become frozen.

It was believed that on New Year’s Eve, Oct. 31, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thin enough that those who had died could pass into the world of the living.

People would dress in costumes and dance around bonfires while the Druids, Celtic priests, would tell fortunes.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 All Saints Day. Soon thereafter, Nov. 2 was made All Souls Day.

It was believed this was an attempt by the church to replace the pagan holiday of Samhain with a similar Christian one.

All Saints Day and All Souls Day were celebrated essentially in the same way as Samhain had been.

Once America was discovered, Europeans brought the festival with them.

It was celebrated more in the southern colonies than in New England because of the strict religious beliefs of many Protestants there.

The festival again evolved to include native American traditions such as the telling of ghost stories.

As more immigrants came to America cultural lines began to blur.

People brought all their traditions from their homelands and mixed them with the existing festival, making the Halloween celebrated today.

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