HALLOWEEN…a brief history

Happy Halloween!! Dr. Varghese and our smile squad wanted to be sure to wish our patients a fun-filled day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the “old days” it wasn’t even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called “Samhain,” as a very special day – almost like our New Year’s Day since their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season’s crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of autumn, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest.  They felt that it was during this time that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being “devil worship” and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became “All Saints Day,” which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids in costumes. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or Pirate’s Booty to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gum.

BE AWARE…. sticky, chewy, and gummy candies can break or damage orthodontic appliances.

Remind kids to limit their candy intake and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause tooth decay and aggravate gum disease. So stay warm, safe, and of course, have a fun-filled Halloween!

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