Halloween History And Tradition

By Bill Johnson

Halloween is certainly an exciting time of year. Not simply for kids but also for parents also. After all, what person doesn't enjoy getting decked out as their favorite ghoul, goblin, superhero, or bad guy, and go out trick-or-treating or to a Halloween party. Halloween is an event celebrated everywhere and in virtually every nation as there are seasonal and religious associations which are common. It has been around for almost 500 years.

There is some speculation relating to the beginning of Halloween(not the name) but the occasion. Some historians link it to the Roman feast of Pomona, who was the goddess of fruits and seeds. Others believe it began as Parentalia, the "festival of the dead". It is however, more often associated with the Celtic festival referred to as Samhain, a Gaelic occasion which honors the end of summer.

Of course the name "Halloween" is more famously connected with the Scottish version of "All-Hallows-Eve", or, the night before All-Hallows-Day or All Saints day. It originated in 1556, and throughout the generations All-Hallows-Eve evolved into Halloween. Halloween is October 31st, and is celebrated globally, however not every cultures celebrate on this date. Some nations around the world celebrate on the 2nd Tuesday in December.

Halloween has a lot of symbolism and imagery that has developed over the years and lots of societies and movements have contributed to it. Most particularly are the Jack-o'-lantern, Dracula, ghosts, death, evil, and dark scary themes. Black and orange are Halloween's official colors. Halloween has spawned a whole industry of costume manufacturers and every year the latest trend of popular movies and characters contributes to offerings. Additionally, there are countless activities that have become traditions of Halloween. Trick-or-treating has become the most popular. Kids across the country dress up and go house to house in their neighborhoods gathering candy and goodies. There are Halloween parties, prank playing, games such as bobbing for apples, and attending haunted houses & graveyards.

Favorite foods at Halloween are candy or caramel apples, candy corn, popcorn, apple cider, and baked pumpkin seeds. Many other cultures have traditional foods they prepare such as Ireland's barmbrack that is a fruit bread.

Halloween represents the season of the harvest and the end of summer. Fall or Autumn in the northern hemisphere is when the weather turns cool and cultures harvest their crops in preparation of winter. Many people assert it is their favorite season citing cooler weather, back to school, the beginning of the American Football season, and many other reasons. All in all it is a great time and remains an important part of the calendar year.

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