A History of Halloween

By Nicole Eatz
Staff Writer

Halloween is a fun and very well-known holiday. Kids dress up and go door to door and trick or treat, while adults go out to costume parties with friends. We celebrate this holiday every year on October 31st, did you ever wonder why?

The history of Halloween goes back 2,000 years with a group called the Celts. They celebrated their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and harvest, beginning the cold, dark winter. This time of year was often associated with human death. The Celts believed that on October 31st , the night before their new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became unclear. On this night they celebrate Samhain, the time when ghosts of the dead returned to earth. Druids, or Celtic priests, would make predictions about the future during this time and would build huge bonfires. All the people gathered around and burned animals and crops as sacrifices to the Celtic Gods. During this celebration the Celts would dress up in costumes, consisting of animal heads and skins. When the celebration was over, they would re-light their hearth fires that they put out earlier in the evening, to help protect them during the coming winter.

As time went on the Romans conquered a majority of Celtic territory. The Romans had two festivals which they combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first festival was the Feria, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally remember the passing of the dead. The next day they would honor Pomano, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. This celebration explains why we have the tradition of bobbing for apples during Halloween. Later on, Christianity spread into Celtic lands and Pope Boniface IV appointed November 1st “All Saints Day.” It is believed that this was Pope Boniface IV’s attempt at replacing the Celtic festival of the dead with a church-sanctioned holiday. The name for the night before All Saints Day was known as “All-Hallows Eve,” which eventually was called Halloween.

Marywood University will be carrying on the tradition of Halloween with some special events. To start off the Halloween festivities Marywood will be holding a Homecoming Dance at the Scranton Cultural Center on October 24th. If you like playing games come on down to the Woods Café to play Fear Factor. Jim Karol, a Mentalist, will be performing on Marywood’s campus in the La Tour Conference Room. To close off the Halloween activities, the Main Dining Room will be holding Halloween Bingo.