Topics in History: Halloween

Halloweenwitch

This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources.

For many, Halloween marks the changing of seasons and is the beginning of the holiday season.  It is a time of celebration and of course candy.  The origins of the holiday can be traced back to the Celtic holiday of Samhain. This holiday was celebrated to mark the coming of the Celtic New Year (November 1), the changing of seasons and to ward off the spirits of the dead.   Over time these customs were combined with other cultures who also celebrated the passing of the dead.  The evening before the November 1 Pope Gregory III designated holiday, All Saints’ Day, became known as  All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Halloween had a slow start in the United States due in part to religious beliefs.  It wasn’t until a new wave of immigrants came in the mid-nineteenth century that Halloween was celebrated on a more national level.  Annual fall festivals and Halloween parties became more common. Our modern day tradition of trick-or-treat began as an occasion when people dressed up in costumes and went house to house asking for food or money.  This American tradition continues to grow today.pumkin

Related Colorado Historic Newspaper Articles

Stories

Parties and Decorations

History and Pranksters

For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page.  For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias, ljeremias@colordovirtuallibrary.org

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Leigh Jeremias

Leigh Jeremias

Digital Collections Coordinator at Colorado State Library
Leigh Jeremias

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