Teaching Students About Why Halloween is Celebrated

As children grow up, Halloween slowly becomes more than just a chance to dress up and get candy. They begin to understand the fascinating history behind the holiday and the reasons that make it so important and special for so many people. Halloween is an excellent opportunity to teach students about history, cultural traditions, and diversity. Here is why we should teach students about why we celebrate Halloween.

The roots of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which celebrated the end of the harvest season and the arrival of winter. At this time, Celts believed that the boundary between the living and the dead intersected, allowing for spirits and ghosts to contact the living world. In honor of this time, they lit bonfires and wore masks and costumes to ward off ghosts.

When the Roman Empire conquered the Celts, they incorporated some of their traditions into two Roman holidays, Feralia and Pomona. Feralia celebrated the passing of the dead, while Pomona celebrated the goddess of fruits and trees. The concept of costumes and bonfires continued to spread throughout Europe and mixed in with Christian traditions, especially in Ireland where All Souls’ Day was celebrated.

Halloween became a popular holiday in the United States through a massive Irish and Scottish immigration wave in the 19th century. The practice of trick-or-treating became a regular tradition in the U.S. during the baby boomer era of the post-World War II years. However, not all cultures celebrate Halloween, and some alternative celebrations include El Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, Samhain in Scotland and Ireland, and All Saints’ Day in other Christian countries.

Teaching students about the history of Halloween can help them understand the different meanings and reasons behind the holiday, as well as appreciate the diversity of cultures beyond their own. Halloween is more than costumes and candy – it’s a symbolic celebration of life, death, and connection to history and tradition. By learning about the background of Halloween, we can all gain a newfound appreciation for the holiday’s cultural richness and significance.

Choose your Reaction!