The Origins of Halloween

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Halloween is celebrated on October 31st. There are as many versions of the origins of Halloween as there are views about the day itself.

Some people see it as a fun activity for children who dress up in costumes, have parties and go trick-or-treating to collect as many sweets as possible. Others see the day as a superstitious time of ghosts and evil spirits.
As an American who has lived abroad for 25 years, I have been asked zillions of times ‘Why is Halloween such a big deal in the States?’ And, all I can say, is that it’s all about the SUGAR!

Kids in America love dressing up and running around the neighbourhood collecting as much candy as they can carry, until as late as their parents will allow them to stay out. The whole community gets involved and many houses are decorated, some quite elaborately.

The actual origins of Halloween date back 2,000 years ago. The 31st is the last day of the Celtic calendar, which was originally a pagan holiday honouring the dead. The Christians then created All Saints Day on the 1st November to honour saints (and convert pagans). The Celts believed that the souls of the dead were free to roam the streets on that night, so they left goodies out to soothe the unfriendly spirits. This is how trick-or-treating got its start.

The streets these days are filled with much friendlier and far cuter little souls, all dressed up and hankering for a choccie!

Article: Lisa Finn-Powell

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