20 Things You May Not Know About Halloween
Just digging around for some interesting information about Halloween, Folklore, Superstitions, and more, I ran across 20 bits and pieces I wanted to share with you!
Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
“Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1. In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.
Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.
According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.
During the pre-Halloween celebration of Samhain, bonfires were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Often Druid priests would throw the bones of cattle into the flames and, hence, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”
Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
Fifty percent of kids prefer to receive chocolate candy for Halloween
Halloween sometimes presents itself with related phobias, such as phasmophobia (the fear of ghosts), wiccaphobia (the fear of witchcraft), and nyctophobia (the fear of darkness). Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.
Cats have a prominent place in Halloween folklore. With their link to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (a precursor to Halloween) and later to witches, cats have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient celebration of Samhain, Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings.
The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl's call meant someone was about to die.
Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) on the Christian holidays All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) instead of Halloween. The townspeople dress up like ghouls and parade down the street.
Teng Chieh or the Lantern Festival is one Halloween festival in China. Lanterns shaped like dragons and other animals are hung around houses and streets to help guide the spirits back to their earthly homes. To honor their deceased loved ones, family members leave food and water by the portraits of their ancestors.
Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan or the “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts” during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.
Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.
As we get closer and closer....HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!