Let’s break it down. Halloween, also Hallowe’en, is a word in the English dictionary. But where did it come from? In the late 18th century Hallowe’en was a contraction of All Hallow Eve. Over time the apostrophe was dropped, and it simply became Halloween.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Halloween is two words joined together. "Hallow" — meaning holy person — refers to the saints and martyrs celebrated on All Saints' Day (November 1). The "een" part of the word means eve — or evening before (October 31) the night of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
So, what does it boil down to? Halloween is simply an old-fashioned way of saying the night before All Saints' Day.
All forms, old and new, can be found in decorations for the holiday. Variations you’ll see may include the following:
- All Hallows’ Eve
- All Hallows’ Evening
- All Saints’ Eve
Call me modern, but I prefer the common day Halloween! Which do you prefer? Leave a comment below—we’d love to know!
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