For centuries Halloween has had it’s share of folklore, mystery and deep-rooted tradition. However, I bet there are a few things about the celebration that you may not have known about. Here are a few fascinating facts and legends as well as a few myths associated with Halloween that you may not have necessarily been aware of…..
- Halloween is historically and traditionally celebrated on October 31st.
- Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain.
- Halloween is also known by a few other names…
* All Hallow’s Eve
* All Hallowtide
* The Feast of the Dead
* The Day of the Dead
- About 99% of pumpkins marketed domestically are used as Jack O’Lanterns at Halloween.
- In the United States, 65% of Americans decorate their homes for Halloween.
- More candy is sold just prior to Halloween than any other holiday during the year. Halloween also ranks second, in terms of total sales, just behind Christmas… which has $$$ dancing into merchants cash registers.
- Legendary magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix on Halloween in 1926.
- Did you know that in the dictionary there are no words that rhyme with orange?
- The tradition of “Trick or Treating” is believed to have originated in Ireland. In preparation for All Hallow’s Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town.
- The original 1978 Halloween film classic directed by John Carpenter cost just $320,000 to produce, however it ended up making over $50 million at the box office worldwide.
- People have believed for centuries that light keeps away ghosts and ghouls. Making a pumpkin lantern with a candle inside is suppose keep you safe from all the restless spirits flying around on Halloween.
- Halloween traditionally is correctly spelled ….. Hallowe’en.
- When Christianity came to England and the rest of Europe, November 1st became known as “All Saints Day” – a day dedicated to all those saints who didn’t have a special day of their own. They performed a mass called “All hallows mass”. The night before became known as “All Hallows E’en” (translated in America as “All Hallow’s Eve”) and eventually became Hallowe’en or Halloween.
- When the Romans conquered England, they merged ‘Samhain’ with their own festivals, a harvest festival called ‘Poloma’, and a celebration for the dead called ‘Feralia’.
- In Mexico, as well as several other Latin American countries, they celebrate ‘El Dia de los Muertos’ or the Day of the Dead starting on the evening of October 31.
- It is thought that the colors, orange and black, became Halloween colors because orange is associated with harvests (Halloween marks the end of harvest) and black is associated with death.
- Black cats were originally believed to protect witches’ powers from ‘negative forces’.
- A pumpkin is really a squash, and comes from the same family as the cucumber.
- The biggest pumpkin in the world tipped the scales at a whopping 1,446 pounds. This gigantic gourd was weighed in October 2004 at a pumpkin festival in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada.
- The record for the fastest pumpkin carver in the world is Jerry Ayers of Baltimore, Ohio. He carved a pumpkin in just 37 seconds!
- The very first jack o’ lantern was made out of hollowed out turnips.
- Folklore has it that ringing a bell scares away evil spirits.
- Legend claims that if you see a spider on this particular night, it could be the spirit of a deceased loved one who is watching over you.
- Another folklore tale states that if you care to encounter a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night.
- Supposedly if your pumpkin lantern shrivels up, you can restore it by soaking it in water overnight to re-hydrate it.
Here are a couple more Halloween related posts (links) from this blog:
Here’s another fun and informative post on Thanksgiving: