The holidays are my favorite time of year and they kick off with one of the best, Halloween. Even as an adult, I love seeing all the houses decorated and how kids get excited about their costumes. It’s so much fun to me to get the house all set up, making cookies that look like fingers.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned the history behind the holiday. History, to me, is full of awesome stories, and the story of this holiday is no different. Of course, there are some naysayers that disagree, but most believe that the holiday originated with the ancient Celtic festival Samhain.
Usually celebrated with large bonfires, this holiday symbolized the end of one season (summer and harvest), and the beginning of another (winter.) “Winter is coming.” *giggles, I couldn’t help myself there* This one night of the year when transition was in the air, it was thought that spirits would come to Earth causing all kinds of problems like damaging crops.
After the Romans conquered their world, a combination of Roman holidays honoring the dead (which occurred in October) and their gods (Pomona, the Goddess of fruit), Pope Gregory III moved the Catholic holiday observing all saints to 1 November, leaving 31 October to be All-Hallows Eve.
So as you dash off to the store to get your costume, or notice that as it gets colder you are using your fireplace more, you can think of our ancestors lighting a bonfire to ward off evil spirits.
What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid growing up? Does your family have any Halloween traditions?