There is an ancient history of Halloween which explains some of today's Halloween rituals. While Halloween is a holiday that many celebrate in the US for fun, it may surprise you to know that the Halloween holiday has a long history that is based on documented facts. In the vicinity of 2,000 years in the past, within the North Eastern zone of Europe in the neighborhood of the areas of what is now Ireland, the UK, as well as Northern France, a contingent of people well-known as the Celts held sacred rituals on the night of October 31st to celebrate the imminent new year on November 1st. This celebration is central to the history of Halloween and was known as Samhain, which is pronounced like "sow-in", and is a word that means "Summer's End".
For the Celts, October 31st signified the close of summer, which was, in addition, the close of their harvest phase, and the onset of harsh winter months that many would not Live through. This was, in particular, why the Celts looked to their priests to help them get insight on what they should be expecting in the impending winter months ahead. To them, it was a question of survival or destruction.
At the commencement of the Samhain celebration, a sacred bonfire would be lit by the Druids in which participants would subsequently burn crops and animals. These crops and animals were considered sacrifices to the Celts' gods in attempts to satisfy them with a booming new year. The animals used in these ceremonies were chosen conscientiously. The villagers would choose animals which they believed were unable to continue on their own during the harsh winter months to come.
After all the partying had ended, every participant would bring a bit of the bonfire back to their homes and relight their fireplaces that had been extinguished earlier in the evening prior to the ceremonies. They did this as a kind of security to keep themselves safe and their farms flourishing for the duration of the bleak, frosty winter months. This is one part of the history of Halloween.
Romans and Celts
Here is what some believe could be another part of the origin of the history of Halloween. When the Romans subjugated the Celts in the vicinity of 43 A.D., they united the Celtic celebration of Samhain with two of their own traditions that occurred around the same period. The first was called Feralia. This Roman time-honored celebration was for a tribute of the deceased. It lasted for one day towards the close of October. The second celebration was a day of respect for the Roman goddess Pomona.
The rationale of celebrating on October 31st was because the Celts believed that this night, the night time in advance of the commencement of the new year, was the only night the spirits of the ancestors came back up to their worldly realm and might potentially produce havoc.
History of Halloween
The History of Halloween Costumes
All the way through the celebrations, Celts would show off over-the-top costumes constructed principally of animal skins and heads.
Bobbing for Apples and Halloween
At this hour of darkness, the Celts whispered that their priests, also identified as the Druids, would be able to exchange a few words in the company of these spirits to predict the outcome of the new year more accurately. The Roman goddess, Pomona, was associated with fruit and trees. Her main identifying symbol was the apple. Some believe this fact helps to give some explanation into why at some modern-day Halloween gatherings people bob for apples.