Did you know that Halloween dates back all the way to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain?
Honestly, I didn't either. If you did- you're probably a little weird. Or you're a witch...
Here's a little history on one of the sweetest and spookiest holidays of the year...
The Celts would wear costumes and prance around bonfires to ward off ghosts almost 2,000 years ago. Modern day Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France were home to the Celts at this time.
Their New Year was celebrated on November 1st, which marked the end of Summer harvest and the beginning of the long, cold, dark winter that was ahead. Of course, this time was always associated with human death since hospitals didn't exist. (SURPRISE!) The belief was that the boundary between the living and the dead were blurred, allowing the deceased to walk the Earth once again.
This brought the fear of ghosts, which warranted wearing costumes and shouting psychotic chants at a fire. Great idea, right?
In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts believed that this day and the presence of otherworldly spirits would allow druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. Historically, this group was known for relying on the volatile nature of the world which made any sort of prophecy very valuable for the progression into the deadly season ahead.
Fortune telling, animal sacrifice, and costumery (involving animals) were all a part of the festival around the sacred fires.
After the festival was over, hearth fires were re-lit and life was expected to go on once again.
By 43 A.D.,
The Roman Empire had conquered the majority of the Celtic territory.
Two famous Roman festivals were combined with the Festival of Samhain to evolve what we now consider Halloween.
Feralia (a day to celebrate the dead in late October) was the first.
A day celebrating Pomona (the Goddess of fruit and trees) was
also thrown into the mix. Pomona's symbol was an apple, thus probably explaining why we bob for apples during this spooky season.
By the 9th century,
Catholicism had reached parts of Celtic communities.
November 2nd would be deemed "All Saints Day" which was also known as "All Hallows Day." This led to the evolution of Samhain being called "All Hallows Eve," and eventually "Halloween."
After all of that, Halloween began to make it's way to America.
Similarly to Samhain, Americans would celebrate their harvest, share stories of the dead, dance, sing, and tell each other's fortunes on All Hallow's Eve.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual Autumn festivals were common but weren't yet celebrated in all of the U.S.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the flood of immigrants coming from Ireland and places alike helped to popularize the holiday.
Irish and English traditions of dressing up in costumes and going door to door to ask for money and food were borrowed and eventually became what we know as Trick-or-Treating. This can also be chalked up back to "All Saints Day" when the poor would beg for food. Beggers were given pastries called "Soul Cakes" in return for a promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.
In the late 1800's, Americans pushed to make Halloween more about the community and neighborly get-togethers instead of death, pranks, and witchcraft.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, newspapers encouraged parents and kids alike to remove anything frightening from the holiday, thus losing most of it's superstitious and religious overtones.
Although most of the overtones were overruled, the Celtic and European roots helped keep the tradition of wearing costumes around.
People still believed that they might encounter ghosts if they left their house, which led them to believe that wearing a mask, or costume, would keep them unrecognizable.
Halloween is celebrated with parties and get togethers for both adults and children alike.
While we all know that Halloween is celebrated by eating loads of sugar, dressing up as your favorite video game character or rap star, it all started with an extremely superstitious group of people that we can thank for the evolution of the holiday that we love celebrating.
With that being said:
Halloween is one of our busiest seasons at the Candy Basket.
We have a whole line of Halloween candy to share and, of course, have every other sugary treat you could imagine.
We don't condone any witchcraft or animal sacrifices, but we do condone eating your weight in candy.
So come in and fill your candy bowl with our Batty Black Licorice Taffy, or maybe our Bad JuJu gummy fruits.
Check out our online store to see what we've got and put in an order (IF YOU DARE......)
(to be read in a spooky voice)
Did you know...?
A quarter of the candy purchased in the U.S. is for Halloween.