Weird and Wonderful Halloween Facts! While most people think of Halloween as a North American holiday, over the course of the past few decades it has spread across the Globe. What’s not to like – fun costumes, decorations, tons of junk foods and more?
Various surveys online show that for many people, Halloween is their second favourite holiday, coming in just after Christmas, and children of all ages continue to be smitten by it. However, there are many weird and wonderful facts associated with Halloween that you might not know about – here are just a few:
1. Hallowe’en is short for All Hallow’s Eve
You may have noticed that we are spelling “Halloween” with an apostrophe between the two ‘E’s’, this is technically correct! The apostrophe is used to show the fact that this is a contraction – the original holiday is called All Hallow’s Eve.
2. Modern Halloween dates back to Celtic times
It’s true – this holiday isn’t just about ghosts, ghouls and candy – it dates back to an ancient Celtic ritual called Samhain (pronounced Sow-in). The Celts were an ancient civilisation that ruled during the same time as the great Roman empire, approx. 2000 years ago, in the UK, France and Ireland. They paid homage to the deceased on the 31st October, it also signified for many the old Celtic New Year.
3. You used to have to do a little dance for your treat!
Children love to trick or treat, but where does this come from? Most experts believe that trick or treating is related to the ancient European practice of ‘mumming.’ Costume wearing men and women (mummers) would go door to door in strange costumes, performing dances, skits and songs in exchange for food and drink.
4. Many parents use Halloween as a time for fun – and learning!
While you may think of this spooky night as a time to indulge in delicious candy, many parents actually use Halloween as a time to teach their kids about moderation.
5. Forget about pumpkin spice – how about turnip spice?
Believe it or not, the beloved tradition of carving a Jack o’ lantern out of a pumpkin is a relatively new part of the holiday. Carving a spooky face into a squash dates back to an old Irish folktale in which a man called Stingy Jack tricked the devil out of his soul.
He wasn’t good enough for heaven, but he had saved himself from hell. Instead, he wanders the planet with only a burning piece of coal to light his path. He used a turnip to carry the lit coal, and Stingy Jack started to be known as “Jack of the Lantern.” Children would historically carve a turnip, beet or potato with a gruesome face in order to scare him away, and now we use pumpkins!
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