Who remembers dressing up for Halloween as a kid? Together with your cousins, siblings, and neighborhood friends, running from house to house to get the most candy was a major part of Halloween. Annually on October 31st, millions of people celebrate Halloween. The history surrounding this spooky holiday is fascinating.
1. Halloween’s Roots
Halloween has roots dating back to the ancient Celtic Festival. In Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, the celebration, known as Samhain, marked the end of the year. The pagan new year began on November 1, the start of the winter season. Bonfires, feasts, and animal sacrifices were a major component of the two-day celebration.
2. Halloween Costumes
The tradition of dressing up in Halloween attire also stems from the Samhain festival. People would dress up to scare away ghosts. Unlike the material found in today’s costumes, the festival goers would wear animal heads and skins.
3. Trick-or-Treating Tradition
Modern-day trick-or-treating is a concept from an activity known as “souling.” As part of the Samhain festival, poor children would go from door to door to beg for food or money. In exchange for the small tokens, the children would pray for any recently departed loved ones connected to the home.
4. Jack O’Lantern
The long-standing tradition of carving a pumpkin originates from the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack. After tricking the Devil repeatedly, Stingy Jack was left to walk the Earth throughout eternity. The Devil could not claim his soul. And God would not let such an unsavory person into heaven. The story continues with Stingy Jack walking the Earth with just a piece of burning coal to light his way which he placed inside a carved turnip. The Irish called the sight of Stingy Jack’s ghostly figure, “Jack of the Lantern.”
5. Orange and Black
Halloween décor has a principal color theme, orange and black. The colors date back to the time of the Celts. The orange represents fall colors and the flames of bonfires during the celebrations. Whereas the color black represented the darkness of the upcoming winter season and death.
6. Bobbing for Apples
The childhood party game had a different meaning in the 18th century. The ritual was meant to find a woman the suitor. Each apple was assigned to a specific gentleman. When a woman bobbed for an apple to take a bite, the outcome would be a date.
7. Candy Corn or Chicken Feed
The original name for the tri-colored Candy Corn was chicken feed. George Renninger, an employee from the Wunderlee Candy Company was the first to sell the candy in 1880. Every year Americans purchase over twenty million pounds of Candy Corn.
Halloween is an interesting holiday with many traditions and lore. What is your favorite part of Halloween?