The Roots of Halloween

There is no doubt that I love information.  I often felt being a librarian would have been a good profession for me as I love to research, look up, learn, and sift through all kinds of information.

In pondering what to write about today I considered the following:

I have written posts on most of these topics before, as my blog has survived two Halloweens before this one.  But, then I thought about how this tradition started and found some interesting information on the History Channel website. Halloween has both pagan and Christian roots stemming from first the Celts and the later Christain communities that replaced the pagan ones with celebrations honoring the souls of the dead near the date of Halloween.

Poor people would get food from the houses of the rich in exchange for a commitment of prayer for the souls of their dead. Later, in Ireland and Scotland, tricks or performances were given by children in disguises in exchange for a treat of coins nuts, or fruits, rather than prayer. And, trick or treating was born!

Years later, in the 1950s, trick or treating was popularized in the U.S. by the Peanuts Comic Strip and Walt Disney’s animated cartoon of Donald Duck trick or treating with his nephews.

Somewhere along the way, the treats became less healthy than fruit and nuts, and candy was given out. No wonder Halloween still exists – Who doesn’t like a free piece of candy?

I remember going out with my sister, my dad, and our neighbors, walking down our road and the next. We did not live in a subdivision, so we walked a fair way to bring home our hoard of treats. It was always dark, and cold. Sometimes, there was even snow!

Upon arriving home, we sorted candy and checked to make sure nothing given to us had been opened or tampered with in any way. If we found anything, which was unlikely in those days, it got thrown out. We were allowed some of the treats but the rest was “saved” to be eaten sparingly from the pantry or kitchen counter.

Unfortunately, years ago, my Grandfather passed was on what is known as All Saints Day, or November 1st. I always think of him on Halloween and how he always had treats for my sister and I. I also remember my mom saying that he would have been happy to know that his passing came on a day designated to celebrate all saints. He was a good man, not a saint by any means, but each Halloween I stop to think of my grandpa.

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