The Origin of Halloween Traditions

by: Stuff They Don't Want You To Know - HowStuffWorks

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what are the origins of Halloween traditions you can turn back now or learn the stuff they don't want you to know here are the facts Halloween is an incredibly popular holiday in the United States each year an estimated 85 to 90 percent of children don costumes for some sort of Halloween celebration like Christmas the modern Halloween is a mix of secular and religious elements many of which predate Christianity earlier we explored the truth about some Halloween related urban legends but what about Halloween traditions where did they come from here's where it gets crazy modern Halloween practices like pumpkin carving and bobbing for apples are the remnants of much older much less whimsical traditions considered the jack-o'-lantern one predecessor of the jack-o'-lantern comes from the ancient Celtic practice of bringing home an ember from the amulet on celebration they carried these embers in hollowed-out turnips creating lanterns this practice evolved over time by the 18th century people in Ireland's carved these turnips in memory of the dead and a folk hero named stingy Jack when Irish families came to the States they replaced turnips with the more plentiful pumpkins nowadays what began as a sacred Rite for venerating the dead has become more of an arts and crafts amusement so what about bobbing for apples this game is a vestigial divination ritual in Celtic traditions the apple was associated with female gods of love young unmarried people would try to bite into an apple floating or hanging from a stream similar to a bouquet toss at a wedding the idea was that the first person to bite into the Apple would be the next in the group to get married so what began as a solemn ritual for honoring the dead and protecting innocents from evil spirits gradually became more than a fun way to celebrate a modern holiday and sell pumpkins and what appears to be nothing more than an old-timey game is actually the descendant of an ancient attempt to peer into the future this sort of change over time is not unusual it's common for cultural practices to merge as groups of humans come into contact or migrate across the globe and through the phenomenon known as religious syncretism even belief systems can merge with rituals characters and ideologies transforming with the times historically this practice has been a useful tool for religious groups seeking to establish their dominance over another culture burying the origin of a holy day in their own ideology turning the story of one culture celebrations into something the dominant culture doesn't want you to know so what happened to the original Halloween find

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In the United States, Halloween is replete with traditions that might seem bizarre to outsiders. Why would someone carve a face on a pumpkin? Why would you dunk your head in water trying to bite an apple? Tune in to learn more about where these traditions originally came from, how they became what they are today, and how religious syncretism can mix different beliefs, myths and rituals together. SUBSCRIBE |







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- The Origin of Halloween Traditions

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