We all know what Christmas is about, what Easters about, what Bonfire Night is all about but do any of you truly know what Halloween is all about? because if I’m honest until now I didn’t have a clue what Halloween was truly about and the story behind it.
So for today’s post I thought it would be interesting to share some facts behind the night of Halloween and why it happens on the 31st of October each year!
Firstly, What Is Halloween?
Halloween is celebrated by millions of people in multiple countries. For most, it is a fun time for kids who put on costumes and going door-to-door to get candy. But it is also known as a time of witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. Halloween started off as a festival called ‘Samhain’, meaning summer’s end, and was celebrated by the Celts on November 1. It was believed that on this day, the veil between the dead and the living was at its thinnest. Halloween grew in popularity in areas with Celtic heritage like Scotland where there was a romance attached to the many eerie stories of the holiday. Trick-and-treating and carrying lanterns are seen as very American celebrations but they can be traced back to Scotland, specifically the poem ‘Halloween’ by Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the beginning of the cold winter. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
The Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money. The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.
10 Random Facts About Halloween;
– Halloween is the second biggest commercial holiday after Christmas.
– The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with a 836 lb. pumpkin.
– Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
– According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
– Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
– In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an unwanted and overly commercial American influence.
– Halloween has variously been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhaim, and Summer’s End.
– There’s a reason broomstick became associated with witches! Old women accused of witchcraft were typically poor. Since they couldn’t afford horses, they used a walking stick, which was replaced by a broom to help them travel.
– Ever wonder why orange and black are traditional Halloween colors? Orange represents the harvest and black represents the death of summer.
– 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.
Whilst writing this blog post, I can honestly say I learnt a hell of a lot and I hope you did whilst reading! Halloween is so much more than just dressing up and eating candy (although that’s the whole fun of it haha!) I just thought I’d share some facts with you all.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s post.
Happy 13 Days Of Halloween!
Lots of love always,