Halloween traditions still in practice after over 1000 years


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Halloween is an internationally celebrated holiday with various traditions coming from historical roots.

Anna Icke, Ranger Review Reporter

Halloween today is an internationally celebrated holiday, known by most and celebrated by many. But the holiday of Halloween took thousands of years and many blended cultures to become the 6 billion dollar commercial holiday it is today.

Even with the knowledge of modern day Halloween celebrations, many people don’t know where it actually started. When polling a study hall class, only 4 out of 43 students thought they knew where Halloween came from, and even fewer were correct in their assumptions.

“I have an idea but I don’t know if it’s true,” Ashley Ellis 9 said, and other students including Kaylee Nash 9 said they had no clue.

With origins dating back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, many Halloween traditions come from rituals meant to scare away wandering spirits. When the Romans invaded Celtic soil, Samhain merged with Feralia, a Roman holiday to celebrate the dead. Not an originally religious holiday, the late October celebration was one to ward off demons and make psychic predictions.

“It’s just fun, kids get candy and have fun with their friends,” Nick Tindall 9 said when asked if he associated Halloween with anything evil. Nash very simply said no when asked the same question.

In the modern celebrations, Tindall and Nash are correct, for as time progressed, the satanic and evil roots dissipated as the Catholic church established All Saints Day and All Souls day around the time of Halloween. While people still had bonfires and wore costumes, All Hallow’s Eve became a day of celebration, rather than fear.

The tradition of costumes continued to expand until it became a crucial part of the holiday. Americans of all ages dress up for Halloween and today’s costume business is a sizeable market, with pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween and Halloween City showing up in Colorado Springs.

Another trademark of modern Halloween is the pumpkin. The Jack O’ Lantern comes from Jack of Lantern, an Irish legend about a wandering spirit who tricked the devil and carried an ember inside a radish to light his way. Irish children attempted to keep Jack away by carving faces into beets, radishes and potatoes and place an ember inside.

When the tradition came to America, settlers discovered that Native gourds called ‘pumpkins’ were much easier to carve. After one person carved a pumpkin, they were imitated until today where farms will base their entire business around growing and selling Halloween pumpkins.

“Pumpkin carving is fun and smells good, especially when we do it as a family and my mom roasts pumpkin seeds,” Lotan Phillips 10 said.

Because of United States citizens’ love for pumpkins, it is no surprise that a coffee made of pumpkin spice is a best seller. 13 years old this season, a modern addition to the Halloween tradition is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. “I’ve had three, but I don’t think a lot of people like pumpkin,” Nash said.

Nash’s words are backed up by statistics too. According to The Washington post, 72 percent of latte consumers only buy one latte per season. Speculation says that this could be because of the PSL’s trendiness, people want one just to say they had one, but no one actually knows why this is the case. “Maybe it’s too expensive, or maybe it has a funny taste, it might only be good once,” Phillips said.

Another popular food in the fall season is apples. More specifically caramel apples, and bobbing for apples in a tank of water. This is most common at children’s parties, but can appear in all sorts of Halloween parties.

The tradition of bobbing for apples comes from the Roman celebration of the goddess Pomona. People would put apples floating in water as decoration around their houses to honor her, as Pomona’s symbol was the apple. These were what sparked the idea of decorating for Halloween, something still practiced today.

Two thirds of students polled said their house will be decorated for Halloween, but many wait until late October to do so. While Ashley Ellis 9 thinks people should be able to decorate any time of year, Kaylee Nash thinks people should wait until just a few days before the holiday.

Whether people’s houses are decorated or not, the general consensus is that the students of Lewis-Palmer are excited for Halloween. “It’s just a fun holiday to go door to door and get some free candy,” Phillips said.

Even with it’s long historic background, Halloween is still prevalent with teens today. Many think this October holiday will stick around for years.