History of Halloween - Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.
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. You can read the entire article here.
Mischief Night – also known as Devil’s Night, Cabbage Night,
Devil’s Eve, Goosey Night and Gate Night – is a holiday which is celebrated in
the United States the day before Halloween on October 30th. It is a holiday in
which children, teens, and young adults engage in pranks and harmless
roots of Mischief Night can be traced all the way back to the late 18th century
in Great Britain. It was first mentioned as an incident that happened at Oxford
in 1790, however, the night referred to wasn’t October 30th but was instead,
the day before May Day. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the day before May
Day was known as Mischief Night in Britain and it was often accompanied by
children playing harmless pranks such as stealing or switching shop and road
signs and overturning tubs of water. During the late 19th century, Mischief
Night in Britain often referred to November 4th – otherwise known as Guy Fawkes
Day Eve. This too was a day that was accompanied by the many pranks done by
young men and women. You can
read the entire article here.
History of Jack-O-Lanterns - legend has it that Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him, but Jack didn't want to pay for the drink so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of buying the drink, he pocked the coin and kept it close to a silver cross in his house, so the devil couldn't take shape again. He promised to let the devil go as long as he would leave him alone for a year – and if Jack died that the devil wouldn't claim his soul.
After a year, Jack tricked the devil again to leave him alone and not claim his soul. Basically, the devil is really gullible in this story. When Jack died, God didn't want such a conniving person in heaven, and the devil true to his word (what a good guy) would not allow him into hell.
Jack was sent off into the night with only a burning coal to light his path. He placed the coal inside a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since. People in Ireland and Scotland began creating their own creations of Jack's lanterns out of turnips, beets and potatoes. The tradition came to the United States along with the immigrants and people began to use pumpkins, native to North America, for the lanterns instead. You can read the entire article here.
History of Trick or Treating - having children dress up in costume and go door-to-door like little beggars demanding treats is kind of weird. Like several other Halloween activities, the tradition can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the rituals of Samhain. It was believed that ghosts and spirits walked the Earth on the night of Samhain, so people would dress up as spirits themselves in an effort to fool the real deal into thinking they were one and the same.
This act was called "guising." As the Catholic Church started supplanting pagan festivals with their own holidays (like All Saints' Day), the act of guising became popular and poor children and adults would go door to door dressed as angels or spirits on Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers. This was called "souling." The earliest known reference to the phrase "trick-or-treat" in North America is from 1927 in Alberta, Canada. More fun facts you didn’t know about Halloween here.
Common Halloween Superstitions - there are many superstitions and myths about Halloween and most of the people have a strong belief in them.
> If you hear someone's footsteps behind you on Halloween night, you should not look back because it may be a dead person following you. And if you commit the mistake of looking back, it is likely that you might join the dead very soon.
> It has been said if a bat flies into your house on Halloween, it is a sign that ghosts or spirits are very near, and maybe they are in your home and let the bat in. You can read more superstitious facts here.
> Black cats have long been thought to be companions of witches or “familiars,” demonic animals gifted to them. While some think it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, in Ireland, Scotland and England, black cats symbolize good luck.
> If you walk around your home backward three times and then counterclockwise three times before the sun sets on Halloween, you will ward off nearby evil spirits.
> Another superstition suggests that if you spot a spider on Halloween, the spirit of a deceased loved one is watching over you.
> Children who are born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second sight, which may also include the power to ward off evil spirits.
> There is a superstition that when you pass a graveyard or
house where someone has died, you should turn your pockets inside out to make
sure you don’t bring home a ghost in your pocket. You can see more Halloween superstitions here.
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