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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in the United States

Happy Halloween!

Last year a wrote a post about the origins of Halloween from pagans to Christians with a mention of Ireland.  This year I did a little research about the history of Halloween in the United States.  Initially, I found remarks online that in the U.S. we adopted what they've been doing in Europe and the British Isles for hundreds of years.  Well, that's not the whole story.

In the early years of the United States, Halloween was not celebrated.  With mostly Protestants making up the Christian population of our country, Halloween was considered mainly a Catholic holiday and celebration at the time.  While early colonial America in places like Virginia and Maryland celebrated harvest, they did not take in the full aspects of Halloween.

Based on my quick research, it looks like you can point the finger at those Irish Catholic immigrants fleeing the potato famine for how we celebrate Halloween in the United States.   They brought Jack O'Lanterns with them and other "harvest" and "all hallows eve"  traditions with them.

By the 20th Century, the religious influence in Halloween was gone in the U.S.   It had become and still is a more of a secular holiday for all to celebrate.  We have parades, costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, and more.  The holiday is really aimed at children here in the U.S. at this point in time, but adults still have a lot of fun of their own.

I still recall as a child my own impression of Halloween.  I always thought of Sleepy Hallow and stories of the headless horseman.  Back East, Fall is so distinct, especially in New England.  It really lends itself to the Halloween theme.

So, "BOO!" to you all and Happy Halloween.

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