Today in the spirit of Halloween ? , I have a special guest post from author Ashley Franz Holman.
The complete history of Halloween is a complicated one.
The modern, secular version is ironic, as the progression from superstition, Roman traditions, Celtic holiday, Christianity, and then finally to commercialism has given Halloween an interesting flavor.
Those familiar with Ovid may know of Feralia, which was a Roman holiday commemorating the dead and is often cited as an influence on what would become Halloween.
What is interesting about Feralia standing out as a primary influence is that most cultures have had similar traditions regarding death and the remembrance of ancestors.
Samhain, the Celtic and Pagan tradition is often considered to be the largest influence on the modern holiday.
It took place during the fall. There were monsters and demons that showed themselves only on that day. It was a magical time.
While the modern traditions for Halloween are mostly secular in nature, it was the Catholic church’s decision to create an alternative to Samhain with All Saints/Souls Day.
Over the centuries, bits of all of the world’s traditions found a place to mix in the melting pot that was America.
By the early 1900s, something resembling Trick or Treating started to catch steam. There was a lull during the sugar rationing of the Second World War, but once the Americans returned from fighting Halloween was one of the traditions that made the country feel normal again.
There’s something very human about the tradition of Halloween. Our obsessions with death, our desires to be remembered. Fear of monsters and the unknown.
Check out more of Ashley’s writing here on Ashley’s website.
Check out Vice and Virtues, a Horror anthology presented by Ashley on Amazon. The perfect ? Halloween read ?!