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  • From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks

  • Halloween is a patchwork holiday,

  • stitched together with cultural, religious and occult traditions that spans centuries.

  • [sound of flute]

  • It all began with the Celts, a people whose culture had spread across Europe more than 2,000 years ago.

  • October 31st was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season in a festival called Samhain.

  • That night also marked the Celtic New Year and was considered a time between years.

  • A magical time when the ghosts of the dead walked the Earth.

  • "It was the time when the veil between death and life was supposed to be at its thinnest."

  • [wolves howling]

  • On Samhain, the villagers gathered and lit huge bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living.

  • But as the Catholic church's influence grew in Europe, it frowned on the pagan rituals like Samhain.

  • In the 7th century, the Vatican began to merge it with a church sanctioned holiday.

  • So November 1st was designated All Saint's Day to honour martyrs and the deceased faithful.

  • "Both of these holidays had to do with the afterlife and about survival after death."

  • "It was a calculated move on the part of the Church to bring more people into the fold."

  • All Saint's Day was known then as Hallowmas.

  • 'Hallow' means holy or saintly

  • So, the translation is roughly - mass of the saints.

  • The night before, October 31st, was All Hallow's Eve, which gradually morphed into Halloween.

  • The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of the 1840s.

  • They brought several of their holiday customs with them, including

  • Bobbing for apples

  • and playing tricks on neighbours like removing gates from the front of houses.

  • The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn't be recognized.

  • But over the years, the tradition of harmless tricks grew into outright vandalism.

  • "Back in the 1930s, it really became a dangerous holiday. I mean there was...uh..such a hooliganism and vandalism."

  • "Trick or Treating was originally a extortion deal."

  • "Give us candy or we'll trash your house."

  • Store keepers and neighbours began giving treats or bribes to stop the tricks and children were encouraged to travel

  • door to door for treats as an alternative to trouble making.

  • By the late 30s, Trick or Treat became the holiday greeting.

From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks

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B2 holiday halloween october st church began dead

Halloween History

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/10/31
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