Happy Halloween from Grammatical Art!
Or should we say “Happy Hallowe’en?” Ever wonder where that seemingly random apostrophe in some spellings of Hallowe’en came from? Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’ Evening, was traditionally celebrated the night before All Hallows’ Day, a Western Christian holiday honoring the dead. (It’s much more complicated than that, but we’re not going to get into the whole Judeo-Christian-pagan connection here. If you want to know more, Google is your friend).
All Hallows’ Evening was shortened to All Hallows’ Even, which was eventually contracted into Hallowe’en, with the apostrophe taking the place of the ‘v’ in Even. This was pretty common practice in English writing in the past; you’ll find e’ens all over old English poetry and prose. The apostrophe has been dropped from modern spellings, but traditionalists still take up the banner in defense of grammar. We can’t really blame them.
Enjoy the holiday, everyone!