When did Halloween first start and why do we celebrate it?

ON October 31, revellers enjoy all the spine-tingling festivities that Halloween brings the world every year.

The haunting event usually consists of fun activities and events, but why do we celebrate it and where did the tradition originate? Here’s everything you know about the much-loved celebration…

Where did Halloween come from?

It’s a common misconception that Halloween originated in America, but the tradition was actually started up a bit closer to home.

Experts believe that the spooky festival started in Ireland, where the Celtics celebrated Samhain.

This Gaelic festival was held after harvest and honoured the souls of the dead to prevent bad luck.

It was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals, commonly observed across Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Other theories suggest that pagans have been celebrating Halloween for thousands of years, where people dressed up in costumes and built bonfires to scare evil spirits away.

Remarkably, evidence of these early Halloween events can be traced back to over 6,000 years ago.

Why do we go trick or treating?

It’s believed that this door knocking tradition began when Irish migrants travelled to America to escape the famine of the 1800s.

As a part of the Samhain festival, Irish revellers would go from door-to-door to participate in “souling”.

Soulers would visit the homes of their neighbours to collect food and gifts on the promise that they would pray for the dead on All Soul’s Day.

In Scotland, people would go guising, where they could earn a ‘treat’ by performing for the house-dweller.

Why do we carve pumpkins?

Another ritual that has become associated with Halloween is pumpkin carving.

According to Irish legend, scary faces had to be carved into a variety of vegetables to scare of “Stingy Jack”.

In the haunting tale which has been passed through centuries, Stingy Jack sells his soul to the Devil.

After tricking Satan, Jack manages to keep a hold of his soul, but when he dies God doesn’t let him into heaven.

Revellers believed that Jack’s spirit is trapped between heaven and hell, so they started carving the faces to frighten him away.

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