Its October, and we all know at the end of this is the month of another world to join us. If you think this isn’t spooky enough, read more below.
With their link to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (a precursor to Halloween) and later to witches, cats have a permanent place in Halloween folklore. During the ancient celebration of Samhain, Druids were said to throw cats into a fire, often in wicker cages, as part of divination proceedings.
“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 (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) should assimilate sacred pagan holidays that fell on or around October 31.
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.
Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween. Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.
Halloween has variously been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhain, and Summer’s End. Halloween 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. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.
Because Protestant England did not believe in Catholic saints, the rituals traditionally associated with Hallowmas (or Halloween) became associated with Guy Fawkes Night. England declared November 5th Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who co-conspired to blow up the Parliament in 1605 in order to restore a Catholic king.
Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was one of the most famous and mysterious magicians who ever lived. Strangely enough, he died in 1926 on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.
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.
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.