Druidic priests regarded the day as the end of the old year and the beginning
of the new.
October 31st was also the day of Samhain, a festival for honouring the dead. The ancient Celts feared the time after nightfall on this day because they believed that evil spirits were allowed to roam the earth. In order to appease these wandering spirits, the Celtic priests held fire rites in which they burned sacrifices, made charms and cast spells.
Portions of the Celtic beliefs passed into Christian culture after the Romans conquered the Celts and Catholic Rome tried to bring the pagan Celts into the "Christian fold".
A few centuries later, the church moved their All Saints' Day (a holiday for honouring the Christians who had died for their beliefs) from a day in May to November 1st, associating it with the old Druid death ritual of October 31st.
Now in Britain and America, it is a time when children have parties, dress up as witches, make lanterns out of pumpkins from which the inside has been removed and play "trick or treat". This is a traditional activity at Halloween, in which children dress in costumes and visit houses. At each house they say: "Trick or treat". This means that they will play a trick, or joke, on the people in the house unless they are given a "treat" (money, sweets, etc...). Most people prefer to give treats rather than having tricks played on them.
|Doc. Trick or treat|
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