Halloween refers to the night from October 31 to November 1. This evening was known in pre-Christian times by the Celts as Samhain. With this festival, which was important for them, they celebrated the end of summer, the harvest brought in and the beginning of a new calendar year. In the course of Christianization, the word Halloween arose from the term "All Hallow's Eve" for the evening before All Saints' Day.
Originally, Halloween was celebrated in the Catholic areas of the British Isles, especially in Ireland. When many Irish emigrated to America in the 19th century, they continued to celebrate Halloween as a custom there. Soon Halloween enjoyed great popularity among Americans of non-Irish origin as well.
In Ireland, a piece of burning coal was originally placed in a hollowed-out turnip to keep the devil and evil spirits away. Since pumpkins were easier to work with than turnips in the USA, the pumpkin replaced the turnip and today it is impossible to imagine Halloween without it.
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