Why Do We Celebrate Halloween? {Bonus: Ylvis Light Show Video}

Via Jennifer S. White
on Oct 25, 2013
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Pedro Ferreira

The origins of the “patchwork holiday” of Halloween

I’m sure that, by now, most of us are aware of Halloween’s early Pagan roots.

It’s also not a huge secret that many Christian holidays were “created” by the Catholic church to mirror or mimic these Pagan traditions in order to bring more people into their flock—and Halloween is no exception.

November 1st is All Saints’ Day—and for a very good reason. It was a way for the church to celebrate the dead in a similar manner to the originators of Halloween, the Celts.

All Saints’ Day was originally called Hallowmas—roughly as translated Mass of the Saints—and October 31st was known as All Hallow’s Eve—which easily morphed into Halloween.

Interestingly, despite Halloween’s ancient roots, it’s relatively new in the United States.

Halloween was brought to the U.S. with the flood of Irish immigrants during the potato famine of the 1840s. (Remember the connection with the Celts.)

Yet another intriguing piece of knowledge is that kids would vandalize their neighbors’ properties and generally act as pranksters and “hooligans”—which is where the phrase Trick-or-Treat came from.

Essentially, neighbors would hand out candy to “bribe” local children into leaving their houses alone.

Thus began our current—definitely calmer—traditions of Halloween.

I thought these facts and others, shared via the video clip below, offer a fun and fascinating back-story to those of us just beginning to celebrate Halloween with our own kids.

So remember to share a little nerdy-good fun in the form of a mini history lesson before you head out to scare your neighbors this year.

Watch this short National Geographic video.

Bonus: (I so want to do this to my house.) Halloween Light Show to Ylvis’ The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)


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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


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