Where Did The Name Halloween Come From? | History in a Nutshell Extra


Through a bizarre twist in history, the Catholic Church contributed just as much as Pagans did to the Halloween we know today! In the Catholic Church's early years, missionaries journeyed out to convert Pagans to Christianity. At first missionaries adapted or reimagined Pagan customs instead of outright stamping them out, however results from these early missions were mixed. Pope Gregory III decided to officially convert the Pagan holiday, Samhain into a holiday for Christians. November 1 was designated “All Saints Day” – a day to honor all the saints as well as Christian martyrs. All Saints Day is also known as All Hallows Day; the night before being called All Hallow’s Evening. With a series of language corruptions throughout the following years, All Hallow’s Evening disambiguated into the name Halloween!

Despite the efforts of the Catholic Church to squelch Samhain traditions, the practices never fully went away completely.

History in a Nutshell features short, sweet and to the point historical content. These short-form "factoids" highlight various observances throughout the year, such as anniversaries, holidays, people, and more!