From the site Answers.com, the roots of Halloween come from three basic events:Samhain
. The Celts
of modern-day Ireland and the UK two and a half millennia ago braced themselves for winter with this festival, which is pronounced "sowen," literally means "summer's end" and falls on November 1. It heralds the beginning of the dark, cold half
of the year. (Its counterpart was Beltane
, which kicked off the warm, light half of the year on May 1.) The harvest was gathered in to protect against the wintry blast of the faeries' breath, and Samhain was an occasion for thanksgiving, sacrifices, divination and prayers. In each home the hearth-fire was extinguished the night before and relit on Samhain from the central bonfires of the priestly Druids
. She is the Roman goddess of fruit trees and the symbol of abundance. There was a festival dedicated to her worship at the end of autumn
, around the time of the big harvest. When the Romans arrived in Britain, in the first century, they melded their customs with those of the Celts whom they conquered.Feralia
. This is the ancient Roman festival of the dead, which was held on February 21 with prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the deceased. The customs of this day were also blended by the Romans with those of Samhain. Feralia was superseded in the Christian Church by All Saints Day
, also known as All Hallow's Day
or Hallowmas, observed on May 13. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III
changed the date to November 1 (though it is still marked in springtime, on the Sunday after Pentecost
, by the Eastern Orthodox Church). All Saint's Day was followed by All Soul's Day
, established by Saint Odilo of Cluny
on November 2 to remember the souls awaiting release from Purgatory
. Halloween is a contraction for "Hallow's even" — the evening of All Hallow's Day, i.e., October 31.
The first city to officially celebrate Halloween was Anoka, Minnesota
, in 1921.
So, describe for the class your most memorable Halloween or fall tradition. Even if you don't believe in the whole dress-up and get candy part of it, is there something that you or your family does that indicates the end of fall and the beginning of winter?
Ex. Because we did not live in a subdivision, we had to plot our Halloween trick or treat route. There were lots of older people in our church who gave away fruit and baked goods. I would always hit those houses first. I also learned that it was important to spend time chatting with the older people rather than just getting the stash and heading back to the car. Eventually, I would make it to a few other houses before the porch lights began to go out. My parents made sure that we also made pound cakes and took them to widows and widowers in our church during Christmas holidays. I got that time to chat with them again. Since I did not have any living grandparents, I inhereted a large group of "adopted grandparents" through these experiences of taking a little time to talk with them and learn about them.