October 27, 2012

Teen Life Way Back When: Halloween

Believe it or not, there was a time in America when there was no Halloween.  While the concept of Halloween is largely due to the ancient Celts and has been around for a long, long time, the early colonial Protestants in America were strongly opposed to the tradition.

It wasn't until the second half of the nineteenth century, as this country became flooded with immigrants from Ireland and England, that Halloween as we know it today took root.  It was then that Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money.  Young women of the day thought they could divine the name of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings and mirrors.

By the late 1800's and early twentieth century there was a movement to take anything frightening or grotesque out of Halloween.  Instead, neighborly parties or community get-togethers were encouraged.

Sound familiar? It seems that, although the ghosts and ghouls had reappeared by the 1940's and 1950's, today they are on the wane once again and Halloween is swinging back out of favor.  Will Halloween survive in the twenty-first century?  Only time will tell.

 For additional reading and references:
http://www.history.com/topics/halloween
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#Spread_to_North_America
http://www.halloween-history.org/

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