by Pierre Le Roux
With just over a couple of weeks until Halloween I thought it appropriate to share some little known facts with you about Hallows’ Eve.
1.) “Halloween” is short for “Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallows’ Evening,” which was the evening before All Hallows’ (sanctified or holy) Day or Hallowmas on November 1. In an effort to convert pagans, the Christian church decided that Hallowmas or All Saints’ Day (1 November) and All Souls’ Day (2 November) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around 31October.
2.) Halloween originated in Ireland over 2,000 years ago. Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
3.) The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips.
4.) Halloween is the second highest grossing Commercial Holiday after Christmas.
5.) 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.
6.) Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
7.) 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.
8.) 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.
9.) 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.
10.) 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.
11.) Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) on the Christian holidays All Saints’ Day (1 November) and All Souls’ Day (2 November) instead of Halloween. The townspeople dress up like ghouls and parade down the street.
12.) 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.
13.) Halloween 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.
14.) In the United States of America both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween Capitals of the world.
15.) In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an Unwanted and overly commercial American influence.
Till next time.