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The Origin of Halloween Customs

Published by Mora Ehrenberg

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Where the Holiday’s Popular Trends Came From

Halloween has many customs that originated all over the world across many cultures. There is the carving of pumpkins, collecting of candy and dressing up in all kinds of fun and scary costumes just to name a few. Halloween is one of many people’s favorite holidays and there are no other days like it all year long.

One of the most popular customs that we learned about when we were kids is the custom of going out and collecting candy or trick-or-treating. Halloween is a great opportunity to stock up on candy and sweets and a skilled trick-or-treater can get enough to last months and months. The tradition comes from hundreds of years ago when people from the church would go out one night a year and ask everyone in that lived close to them for a special bread that had fruits cooked into it and whoever gave what they had would get prayers said for their dead family members to help them find their way to heaven.

The Halloween custom of wearing costumes could have originated from an interesting myth in celtic culture. On Halloween night there are supposed to be spirits roaming the earth who needed to find bodies to take control of for the next year. People would dress up like all kinds of ugly and evil things so that nothing would want to enter their bodies. People thought that the uglier they were the better chance they had of scaring off the souls in search of a new home.

The Halloween custom of carving pumpkins is probably one of the most interesting myths. The custom is supposedly started because there was a man (named Jack, hence jack-o-lantern) who fooled the devil and because of this when he died he was turned away from heaven since he was dealing with the devil. Also when he went to hell he was denied because he had fooled the devil. So “Jack” had to walk in empty darkness between heaven and hell but the devil did give him a little coal to light the darkness and it was kept it in a pumpkin.

So there are many customs on Halloween that we have practiced and will continue to practice for many years and they are steeped in tradition. Most customs have stories behind them and many Halloween traditions have lots of different stories behind them which is why the holiday is so fun and unique. No matter where they come from, Halloween stories and customs are always interesting and always good to retell on Halloween night to a group of children who are ready to be scared.



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