The History of Halloween. By Cammie Multimedia Design 3 rd period October 25, 2012. How Did Halloween get its name?.
October 25, 2012
Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Even, which means the day before All Hallows Day. All Hallows Day is a Catholic holiday honoring Christian martyrs and saints. It has been observed on the first of November since the early Middle Ages.
During the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church wanted to make the change from pagan religion to Christianity simpler so they allowed the new converts to continue to celebrate some of their pagan feasts. In spite of their effort to make the celebration a "holy evening," the pagan customs continued. Consequently, we now have Halloween.
There is no connection between Salem and Halloween. Salem is a town in Massachusetts that is famous for its Witch Trials in the 1600’s. This has nothing to do with Halloween, though Salem is known for their week-long celebration of the holiday.
There is no age limit for trick-or-treating, but if you are thirty years old and still going door to door, you will probably receive many questioning looks. Moms and Dads are the exception. If you are an adult that loves Halloween, try a costume party. It is much better suited to your age.
Halloween was at one time was a festival of the dead. Death is usually indicated by the color black to represent darkness. Thus, the use of black. On the other hand, the Celtics are given credit for the festival of the harvest. Autumn colors are used to represent this festival. Orange is used to signify autumn. Hence, the use of orange. The combination of the two is used to represent Halloween today.
The tradition of the jack-o-lantern around Halloween originated with the legend of Stingy Jack. The full story is found on the following slide. People began referring to “Stingy Jack” as "Jack of the Lantern," and the term was shortened to "Jack O‘ Lantern.“ They created their own lanterns and found that pumpkins worked best.
According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years. Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since.
The significance of pumpkins originated from the legend of Stingy Jack. People began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into vegetables and placing them around their houses to scare away evil spirits. Since Halloween could be described as an night of evil, the lanterns were popular.
Carved pumpkins couldn’t be used for Halloween in Ireland in the 14th century because pumpkins are native to America and were not introduced in Europe until the 16th century.
The vegetable originally used to create jack-o-lanterns was the turnip.
Owls are a widespread Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, people thought that owls were witches. If you were to hear an owl, they thought it meant someone was going to die.
Dressing up started from the ancient Celtic tradition of disguising themselves as demons and spirits. They believed that disguising themselves would trick real spirits wandering the streets into passing by.
Scottish girls believed they would see the image of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of a fire on Halloweennight.