What are the origins of Halloween?

I've read up on this a little, but I keep getting a different answer. Like why dress up? Why say, "trick-or-treat"? Why pass out candy? How'd it all get started? What's it all about?

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jollymommy

Asked by jollymommy at 8:27 PM on Jul. 21, 2008 in Holidays

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Answers (21)
  • http://www.born-again-christian.info/christian.view.of.halloween.htm
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:34 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • Hmmm, this view seems kinda biased. I am Chrsitian, but I'm looking for unbiased facts on how it Halloween got started. Facts with references . .
    jollymommy

    Answer by jollymommy at 8:41 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • I don't know how true it is.... But i heard that halloween started way back when...lol That after farmers would harvest there crops they would let folks come in and get what was left... Then ppl would dress up and scare the others away so they could get what was there for the taking... Dunno if it is ture or not.. But let me know if you find out sumthin..
    emturner

    Answer by emturner at 8:52 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • Halloween incorporates more than one ancient holiday & traditions. Much of it comes from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. In Celtic belief, the "otherworld" existed parallel to our own world. The dead, along with fairies, elves, etc. "lived" there. At certain times the "veil" that separated the worlds became easier to pass through.
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    nysa00

    Answer by nysa00 at 8:54 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • This meant being careful not to step into fairy rings etc. but it also meant the dead could come back. That was great if you were missing grandpa, he could come enjoy a meal with you. However if any of the dead were angry you were in trouble. If you had angered a person who had died you wouldn't want them to find you, so you would wear a disguise. The treats come from a combination of traditions; leaving goodies outside for fairies, feeding deceased loved ones, giving money to those who collected money in return for praying for the souls of the deceased (a medieval tradition). Halloween is also influenced by the Day of the Dead (which comes from the Olmec) & various ancient harvest festivals.
    nysa00

    Answer by nysa00 at 8:54 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • http://www.halloweenishere.com/history.html This link is pretty kewl. It seems to explain most of it.
    2autisticsmom

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 9:02 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • http://www.giveshare.org/booklets/halloween.html
    muslimmom

    Answer by muslimmom at 10:26 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • The ancient Celts of Ireland and Scotland observed an annual harvest festival on October 31 known as Samhain (pronounced sow'-en or sow'-een), which marked the end of summer and was thought to be the time when the souls of those who had perished during the year journeyed to the "otherworld." During Samhain, it was believed, the dead were able to mingle with the living; ghosts, demons, fairies, and other supernatural beings literally walked the earth. Bonfires were lit and ritual sacrifices were made to honor and appease them.
    When the peoples of the British Isles became Christianized during the early Middle Ages these customs and beliefs were transformed, though not abandoned. The Church designated the first and second days of November All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day) and All Souls Day respectively -- some say in an effort to eradicate the holiday's pagan trappings -- and October 31 came to be known as All Hallows Even, or Hallowe'en for short.
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 10:43 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • Among the pre-Christian traditions that survived was the belief that spirits of the dead commingle with the living on the Eve of All Hallows. Related customs arose, or perhaps grew out of existing ones, such as "mumming" and "souling," which entailed the wearing of masks and costumes -- often in imitation of the dead and otherworldly beings -- general mischief making, and knocking on doors to offer prayers in exchange for treats called "soul cakes."

    We know very little of how these traditions evolved during the intervening centures, but beginning in the mid-1800s the observance of All Hallows Eve was brought by Irish immigrants to North America, where, combined with existing seasonal customs, it morphed into the secular, intensely commercialized holiday celebrated in the U.S. and other western countries today.

    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 10:43 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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  • I remember the History Channel always has shows on Halloween palying throughout October, so I checked out their website: http://www.history.com/search.do?searchText=Halloween
    Cicero75

    Answer by Cicero75 at 11:38 PM on Jul. 21, 2008

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