Halloween. For most of us it’s all about dressing up, trick or treating and of course the sweets, but this ancient holiday once had a much greater meaning. Let’s take a journey through the haunted history of what we now know as Halloween.
The word itself is fairly recent. It was first recorded back in 1735 and means ‘hallowed evening’. It is the evening before All Hallows’ Day, a popular Christian Holiday. ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ itself was not seen nor mentioned until 1556. But the holiday dates much further back and pre-dates even Christianity.
The exact origins of Halloween are not certain. Some claim that it originated as the Roman feast of Pomona, or the festival of the dead called Parentalia. Most people however agree that it most likely originated as the Celtic festival of Samhain because of the many similarities between the two.
Being one of four main festivals of the Gaelic calendar, Samhain marked the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.
Many things that we associate with Halloween today, originated from Samhain. For example trick or treating comes from a custom of going door-to-door collecting fuel for the bonfires and food for the feasts. Jack o’ Lanterns on the other hand come from an old custom of carving grotesque faces on turnips to ‘protect oneself from harmful spirits’.
‘Halloween’ went through a huge makeover in the late 19th century. However, it was originally reserved only for the middle and upper classes. Families would throw parties, dress up and give their children gifts. The gifts were usually toys, which only the rich could afford back then.
During the early 20th century that began to change as Halloween was transforming and slowly becoming the holiday that we know and love today. More people became familiar with it and by the 1950s pretty much all of America was celebrating it in some form.
So if you ever fancy having a spooky Halloween party, 1800’s style, we’ve got you covered. Here at allroundfun.co.uk we offer a wide variety of toys, guaranteed to make your little ghouls happy.