Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All About Halloween

Did you know that Halloween is celebrated around the world, not just in the U.S.A.?

Halloween is also called All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Eve. The celebration of Halloween began many years ago. It is most typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, meaning roughly “summer’s end.”

The most popular symbol of Halloween today is the Jack-O-Lantern.

However, in old Ireland the custom was to carve turnips, not pumpkins.  It was considered a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. Immigrants to the United States changed to carving pumpkins. The first celebration in the United States was recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvesting time. It was not until the mid-to-late 19th century that it was associated with Halloween.  The first reference of “Trick or Treat,” in the United States, was in 1911 and was called “guising.”

What’s in a Name

Churches differ in their attitude towards Halloween. In the Anglican Church, Halloween is often celebrated as All Saints’ Day. Some other churches celebrate it as Reformation Day.  In Mexico it is called the Day of the Dead, which focuses on family gatherings, praying and remembering friends and family who have died.   The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd. Today, many schools call it a Harvest Festival.

I find this all very interesting, however when Halloween rolls around, I remember the fun of being with my grandchildren, when they were youngsters, as they dressed up and went out trick or treating. I also remember, with great pleasure, visiting the kindergarten and first grade classrooms, at StarShine, dressed as a witch with a tall pointed hat and purple hair.  The kid’s laughter was music to my ears.  I think they knew it was me when my white hair came poking through the purple.

By Lois Jamieson  
Do you have a favorite Halloween story?
Please take time to share it with us in the comments section!