History of Halloween (UK & Ireland)

Discover the fascinating history of Halloween, tracing its roots from ancient Celtic traditions and the Pagan festival of Samhain through to its Christian adaptations in All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days in the UK and Ireland. This comprehensive discussion also delves into the Americanisation of Halloween, its cultural significance, and its modern-day controversies. Uncover how the holiday has evolved over the centuries, influenced by religious debates, folklore, and regional customs. Perfect for students of history, religious studies, folklore, and anyone interested in the cultural evolution of Halloween in the British Isles. Keywords: Halloween History, UK, Ireland, Samhain, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, Americanisation, Cultural Significance, Religious Debates, Folklore.


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Hutton, R. 2001. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford University Press. https://amzn.to/47aY5yN


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00:00 Introduction: The History of Samhain / Halloween

02:19 Ronald Hutton’s book “The Stations of the Sun”

02:35 Halloween in Britain in the Middle Ages into early modern times

04:07 New customs develop after repression by Protesantism – Soul Cakes

07:48 Mummers and antropos plays

08:41 All Souls Day versus Armistice Day

09:35 Regional variations in remembering the dead

10:48 Divination in Celtic areas of the British Isles

11:54 Pranking that later became Trick or Treat

12:30 The origins of carving Jack o’ Lanterns

13:20 Halloween festivities go to the USA and back to the UK

13:59 1980s American Christians object to Halloween

15:22 Mental health benefits from dealing with death

16:43 Happy Halloween

16:52 Support Angela’s Symposium

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Published on October 29, 2023