Friday, October 7, 2011

A Brief History on Halloween

The word Halloween is first documented in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variation of  All Hallows Even ("evening"), which means that it represents the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English, the term All Hallows Even, was not used until 1556. Today we use the term, All Hallows Eve.

The symbols we currently associate with Halloween developed over time.  The carving of jack-o'-lanterns came from the custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the departed souls thought to be held in purgatory.  The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween. It was immigrants to North  America that used the pumpkin due to it being readily available and much larger in size. Our American tradition of carving pumpkins dates back to 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general. It became widely associated with Halloween in the mid-to-late 19th century.

Disguising yourself and dressing in costume going from door to door for food or coins is a traditional Halloween custom dating back as early as 1895. In Scotland and Ireland, the practice was known as "Guising", children disguised in costumes carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips. They visited homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. “Guising at Halloween did not come to North America until 1911. 

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Why do we say "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" referred to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Still today, in some parts of Scotland, it is customary for children that go “guising” to perform some sort of trick, sing songs, or tell a ghost story to earn their treats.

There's so much more to the story then we have shared here. If you wish to learn more please visit this website

Did you know that one quarter of all candy sold in the United States is sold at Halloween?

The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States.

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