Halloween is a holiday that is loaded with tradition such as jack-o'-lanterns, costumes, and trick-or-treating. It is a night when ghosts and goblins, as well as the undead walk the earth. It is a holiday that permits us to face our fears, to frighten ourselves silly or really feel courageous for not jumping at things that go bump in the night!
Halloween was created in Ireland. More than likely within the remote areas of County Wicklow. Halloween was initially based on the holiday known as "All Hallow's Eve" which is the night prior to "All Saints Day". It was celebrated to help keep evil away and to hide from the demons by dressing up like them. On Oct thirty-first, as soon as the crops had been gathered and stored for the winter, the cooking fires within the houses would be put out. The Druids, or Celtic priests, would meet on the hilltop's within the dark oak forest because oak trees were regarded as holy to the druids.
The Celtic priests would start All Hallow's Eve by lighting fires and sacrificing crops and animals. While they danced all around the fire, the season of the sun would pass, and then the season of darkness would start. Starting on October 31 and going until November 2, the Celtics celebrated a two-day celebration called the "Vigil of Samhain" which is the start of their New Year. It was their belief that the lord of the dead known as Samhain, also called Samhuinn, would collect the spirits of those that passed away throughout the prior year and would decide what form they'd take for the following year. The spirits of the dead would sometimes transfer to human bodies, or they would be condemned to reside inside animals. The evilest of the bad spirits would be condemned to take the form of cats.
During the time of Samhain men and women would do some crazy things, for instance, men would dress up as women, and women would dress up as men. The gates of farmers would be unhinged and thrown into ditches, people's horses would be taken to different fields, and kids would knock on the doors of their neighbours and ask for food and treats which began the tradition we call "trick or treat".
Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated in many places, particularly in countries such as the United states and Great Britain. Halloween was first celebrated in the United States with the arrival of the early colonists from the Celtic places in European countries including Ireland and Scotland. But other early American colonists with strict spiritual convictions, such as the Puritans from England, refused to celebrate Halloween. The arrival of numerous Irish migrants throughout the 19th century assisted in spreading Halloween’s popularity. It's since been transformed into a night of fun for people of all ages with parties, trick or treating, and jack-o'-lanterns.
Every October, carved pumpkins look out from porches and doorsteps in the U.S.A. along with other parts around the world. Gourd-like orange fruits engraved with ghoulish faces and lit up by candle, they certainly are a symbol of Halloween. The practice of designing "jack-o'-lanterns" is a tradition that originates from an Irish legend about a man named Stingy Jack.
Jack was a drunkard who tricked the devil into sparing his life when the devil came for him. Jack asked the devil for a final drink of ale, and satan agreed to it. While at the pub, jack told the devil to turn into a coin so that he could pay for the drink. After turning into a coin, jack put it in his pocket where a cross was instead trapping the devil in form of a coin. Jack made a deal with the devil to spare his life for ten years.
Ten years later, satan returned to take Jack away. Jack asked for an apple before going to the underworld, and again satan agreed. While at the apple tree, Jack surrounded the tree with crosses again trapping the devil. Once again the devil made a deal with Jack not to send him to hell. Instead he gave Jack an ember that he put in a turnip to light Jacks way in the netherworld. Thus began the legend of the jack-o'-lantern.