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Halloween customs

Each year, on the last night of October, millions of people dress-up in costumes and
gather together to celebrate great Halloween customs.
Do you love Halloween customs?
But how much do you really know about this haunted holiday?
Read further to find out the true history about Halloween customs origin!

Halloween custom is one of religious customes, sacrifices and folklore. Custom of Halloween, like any other holiday's history is inspired through customes that have transpired through ages from one generation to another. We celebrate them mostly as did our parents. Every decade leave a certain trace on the Halloween customes. Halloween customes receive into themselves nationality of the country they are celebrated in. Some Halloween customes die, other Halloween customes live but much of their originality get distorted with light alterations and newer additions.

Ok, let's begin. Some historians consider that Halloween customs originate from the Roman Church. By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory, the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. In the course of the four hundred years two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween party. In the 7th century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1. The celebration was called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. In A.D. 1000, the church made November 2 All Souls' Day a day to honor the dead. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Despite the connection with the Roman Church, Americans consider Halloween customes came from the ancient (5th century BC) Druidic fire festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), celebrated by the Celts. According to the Irish English dictionary published by the Irish Texts Society: "Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered. Faeries were imagined as particularly active at this season. From it the half year is reckoned." The Scottish Gaelis Dictionary defines it as "Hallowtide. The Feast of All Soula. Sam + Fuin = end of summer." There are different legends about Halloween customes origin. It is said in one of them that on the night of October 31 the disembodied spirits of people who had died throughout the preceding year would come back to possess living bodies. It was considered to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time was suspended during the night. As result, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead intermingled. But the living did not want to be possessed. So people extinguished the fires in their homes to make them cold and undesirable. Besides, they dressed up in all manner of ghoulish costums, like hobgoblins, ghosts and witches (Halloween costums typically consisted of animal heads and skins), noisily paraded around the neighborhood, trying to be as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess. During the celebration people also attempted to tell each other's fortunes, burned crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

Halloween customes were brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.
Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England was too rigid. Because of that halloween customes in colonial times were prohibited or extremely limited there. Halloween customes were much more common in Maryland and southern colonies. The beliefs and customs of American Indians, as well as different European ethnic groups, meshed; so a distinctly American version of Halloween customes began to emerge. The first halloween customes included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would tell each other's fortunes, share stories of the dead, sing songs and dance. Colonial Halloween customes also included various mischief-making and telling of ghost stories. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but halloween customes was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, very many immigrants arrived to America. These new immigrants helped to popularize halloween customes nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money. This custom is named "trick-or-treat" tradition today. Young women believed that, on Halloween party, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.
In the late 1800s, Halloween custom was gradually molding into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween customes became the most common way to celebrate the day. Halloween customes focused on costums, different games and foods of the season. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" out of Halloween celebrations. Thus Halloween customes lost most of their superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the 20th century.
From 1920 to 1930 years Halloween customes transformed to community-centered holiday. Parades and parties became the featured entertainment of the Halloween. Vandalism start to plague celebration of the Halloween customes everywhere during that time. Many schools and communities made the best efforts to stop vandalism. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited it. Afterwards Halloween custom evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young people. High numbers of young children wished to celebrate halloween customes. Therefore parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom and home. Even today many churches have Halloween parties or pumpkin carving events for the kids.
The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven. Between 1920s and 1950s, practice of the centuries-old Halloween custom of "trick or treat" was revived. "Trick or treat" was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to celebrate Halloween customes. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow.

Halloween customs are still celebrated today in many countries around the globe. In Mexico, Latin America, and Spain, All Souls' Day, which takes place on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Halloween. In Ireland, where Halloween customs originated, Halloween  is still celebrated much as it is in the United States.

Stumped on what to do for funny Halloween costums? Try our simple, but effective Halloween costume ideas. Also, find an idea that will accessorize most any costume, and it's easy to make.

Ready to deck your home in Halloween decoration? Here you will find plenty of excellent, quick and simple ideas to give your home a spooky good look and get it ready for Halloween in no time at all!

Free Halloween Funny Jokes for you to enjoy!

Come back soon! You will find all about Halloween games, easy Halloween recipes, Halloween party, Halloween gifts and much more.


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