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  • In 2018, it was estimated that more than 175 million Americans would go out and celebrate Halloween.

  • The total amount spent on costumes, candies, and decorations nationwide?

  • A whopping $9 billion.

  • Putting on a costume and going out trick-or-treating is the most well-known Halloween tradition.

  • The top two costumes worn by adults in 2018?

  • Witch and vampire.

  • Even pets participate in this holiday.

  • The top costume for our furry friends that same year was a pumpkin.

  • Halloween is a holiday that celebrates all things terrifying, but its origins are closer to all things holy.

  • In fact, the celebration was once called "All Hallows' Eve", and it celebrated the lives of Catholic saintsbut more on that later.

  • So, when did we start to dress up as monsters and carve out pumpkins for a holiday that commemorated saints?

  • And what does trick-or-treating have to do with an ancient Catholic holiday?

  • You're watching Explore Mode, and in this episode, we're going to dive into the origins of Halloween.

  • Halloween as we know it today does not have a single origin.

  • It's more of a mix and match of different traditions that evolved and migrated with the people who practiced them from Europe to the rest of the world.

  • But let's start with a 2,000-year-old Celtic festival called Samhain.

  • This pagan holiday marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

  • It was celebrated on the eve of October 31st and ended on November 1st.

  • On October 31, the Celts would burn livestock and part of the summer harvest as sacrifices to the Celtic deities to symbolically share their harvest with the gods.

  • Apart from marking the end of the year's most abundant period, the Celts believed that on the night winter started, a door to the world of the dead would open, allowing spirits and supernatural beings to wander into the world of the living.

  • In order to please the potential monsters and fairies crossing over to the human world, the Celts would prepare offerings for them and wear costumes and masks to hide their true identities from the spirits.

  • The festival was celebrated in parts of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northern France, which is until Catholicism entered the picture.

  • Around the 8th Century, Catholicism was expanding and they weren't too fond of pagan festivities like Samhain.

  • So Pope Gregory III took a church-sanctioned holiday that celebrated martyrs and saints on May 31st and moved it to November 1st.

  • We know this holiday today as All Saints Day.

  • But back then, it was known as "Hallowmas", which can be roughly translated into "the mass for the holy people".

  • And the evening before, October 31st, was known as All Hallows' Eve, which eventually ended up being abbreviated into Halloween.

  • Ironically, the Christian celebration was heavily influenced by Samhain.

  • Because the holiday celebrated the souls of those who had passed, Christian devouts believed that the spirits of the deceased were allowed to roam the Earth to seek their final vengeance from those who had harmed them before moving on to the afterlife.

  • As a precaution, the living would dress up in costumes or wear masks to avoid being targeted by vengeful ghosts.

  • In Guatemala, people didn't hide away from the evil spirits that visited on Hallowmas, instead, they scared the ghouls away.

  • During All Saints Day, people in some Latin American countries visit the graves of their loved ones to decorate their tombs with offerings and mementos from their past lives on Earth.

  • In the town of Sumpango in Guatemala, though, locals realized that evil spirits would also come down during this holiday, scaring the souls of their loved ones.

  • Finally, after years of this inconvenience, the people of Sumpango went to the town elders to look for a solution.

  • Their answer?

  • Scare those evil spirits back.

  • The town leaders told their people that the loud sound of paper against the wind would be enough to ward off these demons and so the townspeople got to work.

  • They created large, colorful kites and flew them across the sky on All Saints Day, warding off the spirits and allowing their loved ones to visit peacefully.

  • This tradition lives on today, and every year, the people of Sumpango spend months making these enormous kites that can reach from 16 to 52 feet in height.

  • However, the kites made today aren't only to ward off ghouls.

  • Now, they're seen as mystical message carriers that can connect the human world to the spirit world.

  • Halloween traditions have their roots in Europe.

  • In 15th-century England, poor children would go out "souling", which means they would go from door to door asking for soul cakes in exchange for prayers for the giving family's deceased to be liberated from purgatory.

  • The Scottish and people in other parts of Britain and Ireland practiced another tradition called "guising", in which children would put on costumes and, in exchange for treats, they'd put up a performance of some sort.

  • If the neighbors liked the kids' tricks, they'd get gifts such as nuts, apples, or coins.

  • This is thought to be the origin of trick-or-treating.

  • As the years passed, the celebration became more and more popular in Europe, but it didn't make its way into America until the 1840s during the Potato Famine,

  • which caused a large group of Irish and Scottish immigrants to enter the US and Canada, and with them, they brought Halloween.

  • The Irish and Scottish families introduced Halloween traditions like pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, dressing up in costumes, and of course, trick-or-treating.

  • When kids were denied candy, they'd play a small prank on the neighbors, like stealing a wheel from their wagon or stealing the gates to their houses.

  • Although bobbing for apples was popularized by Halloween celebrators, its roots are both Celtic and Roman.

  • When Romans conquered Celtic territories, they brought with them apple trees, which to them, represented Pomona, the goddess of plenty.

  • Many rituals surrounding abundance, wealth, and fertility would be celebrated with apples.

  • It was particularly popular to predict romance.

  • It was believed that if a woman placed an apple under her pillow, she would meet her future partner in her dreams.

  • An early version of bobbing for apples would have women race towards a line of hanging apples, the first to bite one would be the first to marry.

  • Eventually, the apple made its appearance in Halloween parties.

  • In the 1800s, the most popular game was Snap-Apple.

  • Here's how it worked:

  • A piece of wood would be hung horizontally from the roof, on one side there'd be an apple, on the other, a burning candle.

  • The stick was then spun around by the players, and the participants had to take a bite of the apple without getting burned by hot wax.

  • Needless to say, Snap-Apple wasn't a kid-friendly game.

  • So, later on, bobbing for apples in a container full of water became more popular among family Halloween parties.

  • But, although now we see trick or treating as an innocent holiday activity for children, in the past, it was associated with teenage rioters.

  • Time for an Express Explore Explanation!

  • Start the clock.

  • In 1920s America, the tradition of trick-or-treating was taken over by mischievous youngsters that would use Halloween as an excuse to commit acts of vandalism.

  • Teenagers reportedly started slashing car tires, setting fires, stoning windows, and attacking authorities.

  • Things got so bad that in 1925, police broke up a Halloween teenage gathering by shooting at the adolescents.

  • Trick-or-treating for children didn't come back until after the Second World War, during which sugar rationing regulations were set.

  • However, in the 1950s, the Baby Boomer Generation brought back the innocence of trick-or-treating, and it hasn't left since.

  • Halloween celebrations today seem to attract more young adults.

  • According to the National Retail Federation, consumers ages 18 to 24 years old are the most likely demographic to celebrate the scary holiday this year.

  • Data shows 73% of American young adults will dress in a costume and, surprisingly, 23% of them will go out trick-or-treating.

  • Social media also plays a role in modern Halloween.

  • 25% of women looked for costumes on Pinterest and 19% of men took to YouTube to look for their disguises.

  • But regardless of where you get your DIY costume inspiration from or how you celebrate Halloween, it's still the one holiday that will bring everyone together in the name of all things terrifying, and that is worth dressing up for.

  • Thanks for watching Explore Mode, if you liked this video, hit the thumbs-up button.

  • If you want to explore even more with us, make sure to hit the subscribe and bell button so you get a notification whenever we upload a new episode.

  • If you're interested in more of our videos, check out our playlist.

  • See you next week, in the meantime, remember to keep your explore mode on.

In 2018, it was estimated that more than 175 million Americans would go out and celebrate Halloween.

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The Origin of Halloween | Why do we wear costumes for Halloween? | EXPLORE MODE

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    nao posted on 2021/10/25
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