Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; Only this..... and nothing more......." The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Halloween originated from a race of people called the Celts. (800 b.c.- 355 a.d.) who lived in Europe from North of the Alps to the Baltic Sea. The Celts believed that every year on the last day of October, the souls of the dead visited the earth. They celebrated a festival called Samhain, (pron. Sew-ain or Shah-vin in Gaelic), the Celtic New Year. Hearth fires were extinguished at the close of the harvest and relit from a central hilltop bonfire by druids, priests of the Celts. The Romans conquered the Celts and Christian scribes wrote down their folklore. These stories contained supernatural creatures. The human and spirit worlds were said to merge on Samhain. People disguised themselves as ghosts and goblins to protect themselves from evil. Food was an offering of respect for the dead who where thought to return home. These traditions continue today. Around the eigth century, the Christian church made November 1 All Saints' Day to honor all of the saints that didn't have a special day of their own. Over the years these festivals combined, the mass held on All Saints' Day was called Allhallowmas (the mass of all Hallows -- saintly people). The night before was known as All Hallows Eve. Eventually this name became Halloween. In the 1800s, as a lot of people emigrated to the U.S., the holidays and traditions of different cultures merged. Halloween was not always a happy time. October 31, or the night before took on other names. Some called it Devil's or Hell night, to others it was mischief night. To some people this became a time to play tricks on others. Some of these tricks were not fun at all. Community groups and individuals took action and started to change Halloween into a family event. Dressing up in costumes and going "trick or treating", costume parades, community parties and Fall festivals are some of the ways that Halloween is celebrated today.