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The Haunted Tale Behind Halloween

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Candy and costumes and pumpkins, oh my! In the modern era, Halloween, like many other holidays, has been commercialized into a billion dollar industry that’s not only celebrated in the US, but around the world. In part, we love Halloween because it is the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a time when we welcome cooler weather and trade shorts and sunglasses for coats and mittens. There are also the sweet treats and the fun excuses to dress up and celebrate with friends. But as you might know, Halloween has a bit of a spooky history and Long Wong’s AZ Famous Wings (voted Arizona’s best wings) has the story right here.

The Festival of Samhain

In most ancient traditions, in a time when the natural world was considered volatile and difficult to understand, there existed festivals and holidays surrounding the changing of seasons and the commemoration of the dead. Over 2,000 years ago, in the Celtic tradition of Ireland, the UK, and Northern France, November 1st was the New Year. However, the new year wasn’t exactly a season to look forward to, as it marked the end of Summer, along with the harvest, and the beginning of winter: often associated with death.

On the eve of the New Year, October 31st, the Celts would throw a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). It was believed on this evening that the lines between the lands of the living and the dead were blurred and that ghosts would roam about the earth. It was an uncertain time, as these spirits would cause trouble and damage crops that were necessary for survival through the dark, cold winter. In addition, however, it was also believed that this opening of the spiritual realm afforded the Druids, or Celtic spiritual priests, an opportunity to read the future. Out of reverence and celebration, villagers would don animal skins, build great bonfires, and present crop and animal sacrifices in an effort to be on the good side of the spirit realm.

All Hallow’s Eve

Fast forward a few hundred years to Catholic, Roman-occupied Europe in the 6th century. Pope Boniface VI established an Empire-wide feast called All Saints Day (aka All Hallows Day) on May 13th, dedicating the Roman Pantheon to all Christian martyrs. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved this holiday to November 1st and expanded it, making November 2nd All Souls Day. It is believed he did this in an effort to erase the pagan festival of Samhain and replace it with a church-sanctioned holiday. Thus, October 31st became commonly known as “All Hallows Eve,” and Halloween would later draw its name from this title.

Some believe the connection of Halloween to the Celtic pagan holiday of Samhain is inaccurate, and rather choose to believe it came from the Christian tradition. Whichever myth or story you give credence to, one thing is for sure: Long Wong’s AZ Famous Wings is home to Arizona’s best wings. Come and satisfy your taste buds today!


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