Friday, October 24, 2008

Trick Or Treat?

As Halloween fast approaches, the holiday here in the US seems to get bigger each year. I had to wonder, how and when did this holiday take hold in this country? After all, America was founded by Puritans who would’ve banned such holidays. But as other cultures emigrated to the United States, they brought along their own customs.

It seems Irish and Scottish immigrants, who arrived between 1840 and 1870, were responsible for bringing their traditions, including Halloween to the United States. The origins of modern-day Halloween came from a pre-existing autumn festival of the dead, called Samhain.

Scottish and Irish-Americans held dinners and balls, celebrating their heritage and legends. Children’s Halloween activities included bobbing for apples and divination games. Pranks and mischief were also common.

So, like Christmas traditions, many of our modern-day Halloween celebrations originated during the Victorian era.

For more info on the origins of Halloween, visit these History Channel sites:


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Interesting to learn my ancestors had a hand in the Halloween celebrations. I've also heard that the Mexicans celebrate it as all hallows eve and celebrate their dead. I wonder if there could have been an early collaberation between the two?

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Paisley!
From my research it looks like it was only the Europeans who shunned those rituals that ultimately led to our modern-day celebration of Halloween. I'm sure there were plenty of other cultures who held similar celebrations of the undead.

Susan Macatee said...

LOL. I meant to say, dead!

Kristin-Marie said...

I think our Victorians had a good sense of fun with establishing holidays. It also helped the rising mercantile industry.

Susan Macatee said...

I think you're right, K-M.

And both Halloween and Christmas cater to children and that's what the Victorians wanted to lavish attention on their children.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

I had no idea the Irish and Scottish introduced Halloween! But then, the Irish do love any excuse to throw a party, LOL.

What an interesting blog, Susan! Thanks!

Susan Macatee said...

They sure do, Nic!

Kitty Keswick said...

I grew up in a very superstitious household...I love Halloween.
Now I know why... my ancestors. Great post.
BTW, I love the Victorian mansion on your blog! It's beautiful! Is it yours?

Susan Macatee said...

No, Kitty, but I wish it was. LOL.
Thanks for leaving a comment.