Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trick OR Treat

Tonight we have one more Halloween story. This story I also found in Today and Tonight magazine by Erica Smith. I thought this was pretty interesting.

Halloween is actually a true American tradition. Halloween's history is deeply routed in European culture. Early American colonists brought their fall customs with them. The Halloween we now celebrate is a blending of both European traditions and American Indian Folklore. Public events called "play parties" celebrated the harvest, where neighbors got together and danced, sang, read each others fortunes and told stories of the dead. Ghost stories and mischief-making were also very popular events and delighted colonists during long fall nights. By the 19th century, harvest festivals were very common but Halloween was not yet celebrated.The potato famine in Ireland caused an influx of Irish settlers who would bring the celebration of Halloween with them.

British and Irish traditions had Americans beginning to dress in costumes, going from house to house asking for food or money, in what eventually became today's "trick or treat". The practice probably dates back to All Souls' Day parades in England, where poor citizens would befor for food. Families would give them pasteries called "Soul Cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

Dressing up in costumes comes from both European and Celtic roots. In the 1800s Americans came to embrace these customs. On Halloween, when it was believed that spirits came back to the earthly world, people were afraid they would encounter the spirits if they left their home after dark. People believed that if they wore masks, the ghosts wouldn't recognize them and would instead mistake them for other ghosts. People would also leave out bowls of food outside their homes in hope of appeasing the spirits and preventing them from attempting to enter.

We have come to make this a truly American holiday that is more about community and family fun, instead of ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.

It's Halloween! It's Halloween! The moon is full and bright! We shall see what can't be seen on any other night!


Cecile said...

I am lovin' the history:))
I learn something new every day:))

*Jilly* said...

I have read about this story..interesting isn't it?
Thanks for all your research:)

Granny Annie said...

Great history lessons and enjoyable reading with the Halloween musical accompaniment.

Missy's Blog said...

Loved learning how Halloween came to be.

It's one of my favorite holidays ... can't wait until next Friday!

Trina said...

Thanks for giving us all this neat info. It's great. Am I correct in thinking that Halloween is one of your favorite holidays? You and Hut could help in our Haunted Forest if you lived closer to us.