Halloween month is here! Here at EazyPrint, we love the spooky holiday and thought we’d find out a bit more about the history of Halloween. Read on to learn all about the most frightful day of the year… And, if you’re in need of some themed flyers or leaflets for some creepy coupons or some signs or banners for your scary store décor, don’t hesitate to get in touch today!
A history of Halloween – the origins
Halloween as we know it today is a big mash up of various different events, from many different cultures. However, it is commonly accepted that Halloween began as the festival of Samhain. This was an ancient Celtic festival that took place throughout the U.K and Europe.
As the summer comes to a close and autumn begins, ancient Celts believed that the barrier, which separates our realm from the upper realm of ghosts and spirits, wore down and became permeable. As such, this was the time that the supernatural beings could enter our world from the realms beyond and haunt the living. So, the idea behind Halloween was to portray something so frightening that the ghosts and spirits would be scared away, back to their realm, and leave the living in peace.
It is assumed that the tradition of pumpkin carving began with the ancient Celts, as pumpkins were a staple of Irish diets. Allegedly, pumpkin carving began in 18th Century Ireland, with a blacksmith named ‘Stingy Jack’ who tried to make a deal with the devil! When he died, the devil apparently provided an ever-burning ember, carried in a turnip, to light his way round purgatory. The turnip/flame was named Jack-O-Lantern, after blacksmith Jack.
Halloween and Christianity
As Christianity became more prevalent in Britain and Europe, Halloween became ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ – the day before All Saints’ Day. Generally, the Church held a vigil on Halloween, so that Christians could prepare themselves with reflection, prayers and fasting before All Saints’ Day.
During this time, poor families would visit the houses of wealthy families and receive sweet baked goods called ‘soul cakes’. The gift wasn’t without strings attached – it held the expectation that the poor families would pray for the souls of the wealthy families’ deceased ancestors. This practice was called ‘souling’ and is one of the most compelling origins for ‘treat or treating’.
Modern Halloween as we know it nowadays is less about scaring off ghosts and ghouls, and more about having a good time! Irish citizens that immigrated to America in the 19th Century brought the traditions over the pond, and since then Halloween has really taken off in the States.
It was in America that the tradition of ‘trick or treating’ as we know it was born, and the day is celebrated to a much greater degree than in the UK.
We hope you enjoyed our brief history of Halloween! If you’re pondering what Halloween marketing materials you might like, take a look at our blog: Halloween Printed Products and treat your customers to some spooktacular savings, offers or events!