Halloween is a holiday that is familiar to US culture. Store shelves are packed with cliché Halloween candies and costumes. Google calendars automatically have the day marked, and workplaces host small celebrations with fall activities. As with all the celebrations, many people do not know its history as an officially recognized US holiday.
Halloween, historically known as All Hallows Eve, first started around 2,000 years ago. As time passed on, the legends and stories began that spirits of the dead roamed around on the day of All Hallows Eve, which turned it into a “scary” holiday. Eventually, this tradition was changed into what is now known as Halloween. In reality though, it was just to mark a new winter season.
When All Hallows Eve started, it started as an idea from those involved in the Celtic festival. They wanted a way to mark that the long, hard, harvesting season was over. As time went on, this holiday was mixed with some of the legends surrounding it into a day to show respect for the dead in some countries.
In time, All Souls’ Day was made. This was celebrated with bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Immigrants that came to America then helped to popularize the holiday.
Today, in the US, Halloween has a less important meaning to people today than what the earlier century called All Souls’ Day. For most US citizens, Halloween is just a lighter, more fun holiday that timestamps the fall calendar and many doesn’t think about its historical creation.
Freshman, Dakota Noah, said: “I’m not really into all that Halloween spirit stuff. It’s usually too cold.”
Dakota also notes that nowadays with Halloween, he is thinking about the holiday more practically and how people need to be safe while trick-or-treating, especially now that he is older.
“I’ve heard a lot of things about dangerous candy and it just makes what used to be fun into more of a precaution. I feel like the past of Halloween had a much more important meaning. It was something that actually marked what they were dependent on, the harvest season,” said Noah.
At the end of the day for many Americans, Halloween remains as a chance to create nostalgia in their lives, like a lot of holidays.
“I personally think it’s fun. You know the other holidays are just mainly about family and eventually, that gets boring for you. But Halloween and all the things around it is what makes it so fun to me because it’s so different from other holidays,” said Sophomore, Emmanuel Gomez.
Overall, Halloween and All Hallows Eve have very little in common anymore – from celebrating the new winter season, to celebrating the dead, and finally to what we know as of now, celebrating indulging in candies, costumes, and spooky things to be fun. However, it appears that Halloween will remain on our yearly calendars and because of this, we as Americans should be a little more aware of its actual roots.