Halloween Facts

jack-o-lanterns

Halloween has become popular again after having survived the worries of “poison” candy back in the 1970’s.

Here’s a little background info in case you were wondering about All Saints Day, Halloween and all the spooky elements that go along with it.

History of Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in America and dates back to ancient times.

The name “Halloween” comes from a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, or Hallowe’en, meaning the evening before All Saints Day (1 November).

It is believed that this festival was originated as a pagan celebration for the end of summer and the beginning of winter.

This holiday has been celebrated by people all over the world for centuries with each culture putting its own twist on it.

In some cultures, such as those in Europe, Halloween is seen as a time when spirits can more easily enter our world and play tricks on humans who are otherwise occupied with celebrating other things like Christmas.

Samhain

The festival called Samhain is the precursor to what we now know as Halloween. It took place on October 31, which marked the end of summer and beginning of winter in Celtic culture.

The Celts believed that at this time, the veil between our world and the otherworld was thinnest, making it easier for them to communicate with spirits who had passed away during their previous year.

This led to a belief that all sorts of malevolent spirits were roaming about trying to wreak havoc on humans—hence why they would perform rituals aimed at warding off evil forces by creating scarecrows or using charms made from items like rowan leaves or hazelnuts. They also lit bonfires so ghosts would be scared away by their light.

All Saints’ Day

All Saints Day is a day of remembrance for all the saints, known and unknown. It’s celebrated on November 1st every year. The Feast of All Saints commemorates the belief that after death, whether they were Christians or not, all souls are made pure by God’s love.

It is also an occasion to pay tribute to any saint who has died in the past year.

The feast was founded in 609 when Pope Boniface IV dedicated a chapel in Rome to “All Saints” (in Latin: “Sancti Omnium”). In 835 Louis-le-Débonnaire ordered its observance throughout his kingdom.

What started as an annual commemoration became part of the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, with the day declared a holy day of obligation.

All Hallows Eve (or Halloween), once a night of pranks and mischief (also attributed to Celtic Pagan roots) is now known as the day when the Veil between worlds is thinnest. This means it’s traditionally been the time of year when spirits and souls of those who have died before now come back to visit with those were dear to them upon this Earth.

Catholics typically celebrate by placing a lit candle in the window of their homes, which are called ‘All Saints Lights.’ This is done so that it keeps the wandering souls at ease…and keeps them from getting lost on their way

Halloween Traditions and Symbols

Trick-or-Treating

It was common for Druids to dress up as demons or other frightening creatures, then go door-to-door demanding food from homeowners.

The Celts would often wear costumes made out of animal hides so they could disguise themselves better while scaring people. If you answered their call for food by giving them something to eat, they might tell your fortune or give you an omen about what would happen in the coming year.

But if you refused them hospitality at your doorstep, it was said that they would curse you with a spell or throw a rock at your house.

Over time, Halloween has changed from a mysterious harvest celebration to the fun holiday for children we know today. In its early days in America, it was celebrated with bobbing for apples and bonfires where people told ghost stories around them.

As years went on though people began eating popcorn instead of roasted pumpkin seeds as well as telling more modern tales like those about vampires or zombies rather than old Irish legends that were originally passed down orally through generations.

Pumpkin Carving

Many people know that the tradition of carving pumpkins goes back to Ireland, but few know why. The Irish started this tradition because they used to believe that if you left a turnip out on Halloween night it would turn into an evil spirit and come alive. To prevent this from happening, families carved faces into their turnips (and later pumpkins) so the spirits could not enter them.

As time went on, American settlers took up the practice as well. They also believed in some superstitions about pumpkins such as “pumpkin lights bring good luck.” Soon after they came here, Americans began using jack-o’-lanterns for decoration outside their homes at Halloween instead of just inside their houses like many Europeans did.

Bats

Bats and Halloween go together like, well, bats and Halloween. Bats are often associated with the spooky holiday because they usually come out at night – just in time for trick or treating!

But there’s more to it than that: bats also have a connection to death and the underworld. And any animal closely linked to these ideas is going to be spooky all year round.

What’s the story behind this bat-spookiness? It turns out that back when people didn’t know much about science (or anything else!), they thought bats were evil creatures who lived off of animal blood and could even turn into humans by wearing their skin as a disguise.

Owls

It’s not just the witches and goblins who get to have all the fun on Halloween. Owls are also perfectly appropriate for this spooky holiday, with their dark feathers, large eyes, and sometimes eerie calls.

They’re often associated with wisdom or knowledge which is perfect for a day that celebrates things like trick-or-treating and costume parties.

And while they don’t love all of the attention that comes along with being part of any celebration, you can bet they’ll be around in some form or another come October 31st!