Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
Halloween is Oct. 31 – the last day of the Celtic calendar. It actually was a pagan holiday honouring the dead.
“Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1.
Halloween is correctly spelt as Hallowe'en.
Halloween is also known by other
names; All Hallows Eve, Samhain, All Hallowtide, The Feast of the Dead
of the Dead, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhaim, Summer’s End San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.
in Welsh is ‘Nos Calan Gaeaf’.
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.
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. On this day, the spirits of the dead return to the Earth, guided by the strong aroma of marigolds and incense to shrines set up for them by their families, who celebrate
their return. As the day comes to an end, the families may head to the cemetery to spend the rest of the night with their loved ones before they go back to the other world.
Ireland is typically thought to be the birthplace of Halloween.
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.
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.
If you see a spider on this night, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.
The first Jack
O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
Pumpkins are typically orange. However, they also come in white, blue and green.
Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolise the ancient agricultural roots.
Black cats were once believed to be protected their master's dark powers. Some animal shelters will not allow people to adopt black cats around the time of Halloween as they fear the stereotypical witches pet will be sacrificed.
It 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.
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.
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.
“Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor
to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.
was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time.
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.
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.
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.”
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 honour their deceased loved ones, family members leave food and water by the portraits of their ancestors.
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.
Children are more than twice as likely to be killed in a pedestrian/car accident on Halloween than on any other night.
The Irish would often light bonfires, possibly to ward off evil spirits and it is thought that they would attract insects to the area which in turn attracted bats, causing them to be associated with Halloween.