With Halloween just days away, have you ever stopped to think about the holiday and its very specific methods of celebration?
When we think of Halloween today, we may envision fun, colorful costumes, sacks filled to overflowing with delicious treats, and jack-o-lanterns grinning from the porch steps. But, Halloween has a somewhat darker past. Here are seven spooky facts about Halloween that you may not know:
- The first Jack O’Lanterns were originally made from turnips.
- Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of offering food to placate spirits who roamed at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
- Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
- As a result of Christian efforts to eliminate pagan holidays such as Samhain, the Catholic Church brought about major transformations to pagan festivals and celebrations. And, in 601 A.D., Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints’ Day, a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The evening before the holiday was known as All Hallows’ Eve, which later became Halloween.
- Ireland is generally credited as the birthplace of Halloween.
- During Halloween’s precursor, Samhain, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
- Halloween in America today is now the second largest commercial holiday of the year, second only to Christmas.
From trick or treating, to costume parties, Halloween is a fun-filled evening for all ages. But, as you celebrate, don’t forget Halloween’s early origins… and remember to watch out for roaming ghosts, fairies, and spirits!
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