What’s the deal with Halloween? When did we start getting dressed and shoving our faces with assorted sweets? Today we’ll take a short trip through history to examine one of America’s biggest non-religious holidays.
It is celebrated every year on the 31st of October, and it is generally agreed among scholars that Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Not far from our present-day traditions, these ancient Celts would light big bonfires and wear terrible costumes to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. For them, the day marks the end of summer and the symbolic acceptance of the coming cold winter months. At that time, severe weather and a lack of crop harvest often caused illness and death, so the Celts believed that the night of October 31st was the time when the lines between the living and the dead became blurred.
Then came the Romans, who occupied and ruled Celtic lands for more than 400 years. Roman holidays were combined with Samhain, giving rise to new traditions. The holiday began honoring Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees, which likely explains our contemporary tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
We can hold these festivities about 2,000 years ago, so it’s understandable that the holiday will change over time. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III officially designated November 1 as a day to honor the saints of the Catholic Church. It wasn’t long until Halloween began merging with the ancient traditions of Samhain.
Strict Protestant beliefs restricted the adoption of Halloween in America until the second half of the nineteenth century, when an influx of new immigrants helped popularize Halloween throughout the country. By the 1930s, Halloween was a secular holiday focused on parties, games, candy, and public mischief. The holiday became primarily geared towards young adults, as trick-or-treating took root as a way to engage and excite children, and thus a new American tradition was born.
Nowadays, Halloween is almost synonymous with candy. In fact, a quarter of the candy sold annually in the United States is bought on Halloween. Like any treat, candy is good in moderation, especially if you eat it on a day like Halloween when the sugary snack is just a tradition. But in the case of excessive consumption of processed sugar in candy, it is extremely harmful to your health, and directly contributes to weight gain. If left unchecked, it can cause a series of other health issues.
It’s best to stick to an organic and delicious cold-pressed juice.