The Origins of Halloween in The U.S.

“Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2021 will occur on Sunday, October 31. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.” History.com Editors, September 7, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key (VOCABULARY ONLY)

Pumpkin from NASA-Time Magazine

 

Excerpt: How Halloween Began, History.com, September 2021

Ancient Origins of Halloween

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.

A family is silhouetted by a bonfire on Halloween night. (Credit- Shay Murphy:Getty Images)

Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.  For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

Halloween Comes to America

An early 20th-century postcard of children on Halloween. Rykoff Collection:Corbis:Getty Images

The celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.

imagediyhalloween.wordpress.com

The first celebrations included ‘play parties,’ which were public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing…In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants.

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These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally.”

Additional Information

The Origins of Trick-or-Treating 

https://www.history.com/news/halloween-trick-or-treating-origins

Halloween Was Once So Dangerous That Some Cities Considered Banning It

“Violence and vandalism were once as traditional as candy and costumes.” By Christopher Klein https://www.history.com/news/halloween-was-once-so-dangerous-that-some-cities-considered-banning-it

The Real Stories Behind Classic Horror Movies By Becky Little

ctor Max Schreck in the 1922 film Nosferatu. Everett Collection

American ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren, 1980. Russell McPhedran:Fairfax Media:Getty Images

“How do you make a horror tale scarier? Just say it’s ‘based on a true story.’ That’s a technique book publishers and movie producers have been using for decades, whether or not the supposedly ‘true story’ adds up.

The Exorcist, The Conjuring and other horror classics were inspired by actual (although not always factual) stories.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article. 

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Halloween is a holiday currently celebrated each year on October 31.
  2. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
  3. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints.
  4. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter.
  5. Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier to make predictions about the future.
  6. The Celts were entirely dependent on the volatile natural world.
  7. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires.
  8. The Druids originated in Britain during the 18th century.
  9. The symbol of Pomona is the apple.
  10. More people, especially millennials, are buying costumes for their pets.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

ANSWER KEY

 

ACTIVITIES from the web:

40 Frightfully Fun Halloween Activities, Crafts, and Games For the Classroom

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