Outline On The History Of Halloween
At the end of my speech, my audience should understand three important points of the history of Halloween.
The three most important points of Halloween can be summed up by looking at its origins, how it came to include jack-o-lanterns and bobbing
for apples, and how it is celebrated today in the 21st century with
trick-or-treating and haunted houses.
When the leaves start turning different colors and falling off the trees, when the temperature starts falling and the sun starts setting a little earlier each day, it makes me think of Halloween.
Most people think all Halloween is about is dressing up and going trick or treating. It didn’t start out as a going door-to-door and getting candy event every October 31st. In fact, Halloween originated as a Celtic festival more than 2000 years ago.
When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite time of the year. It wasn’t even because of all the candy and the dressing up, but for the overall atmosphere of it. I have always loved all things scary and fall has always been my favorite season so naturally every year I look forward to the end of October every year.
The three most important points of Halloween can be summed up by looking at its origins, how it came to include jack-o-lanterns and bobbing for apples, and how it is celebrated today in the 21st century with trick-or-treating and haunted houses.
Beginning somewhere around 800 BC, The Celts celebrated “Samhain”(pronounced “sow-in”), according to the book entitled “The Celts” by Nora Chadwick.
A. Samhain is a festival to recognize the end of summer.
1. The Celtic celebrated Samhain near the end of our month of
October, which was the end of the year for them.
2. It often involved a big feast because it was the end of harvest also.
B. The Celts believed that the veil between this world and the next was thinnest at this time of year.
1. Friends and relatives who had died would often return, with their souls inhabiting an animal - often a black cat.
2. Black Cats have remained a symbol of Halloween even today.
C. In celebration of the recently completed harvest, Celts would give offerings of food to the Gods.
1. They often went from door to door to collect food to donate to their deities.
2. Also, young Celts would ask the townspeople for kindling and wood, and take it to top of
the hill for the Samhain bonfire.
3. These are the two possible origins of the modern “trick or treating” ritual.
1. Sacred bonfires were lit on the tops of hills in honor of the Gods.
2. The townspeople would take an ember from the bonfire to their home and re-light the
fire in their family hearth.
3. The ember would usually be carried in a holder, usually a turnip or gourd.
E. The Celts felt nervous about walking home in the dark on account of the evil spirits.
1. They dressed up in costumes and carved scary faces in their ember holders.
2. They hoped that the spirits would be frightened and not bother them.
3. This is why we carve pumpkins and children dress up for Halloween.
II. For the next eight centuries, the activities going on at the end of October began to change.
A. According to website “The Origins and History of Halloween” at
www.tartans.com/halloween.html, the term "Jack-o'-lantern" came from an Irish folk tale of the
1. Jack was mischievous Irishman that had tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree.
2. He then cut a cross symbol in the tree trunk, thus...
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