How much do you know about Halloween? Here are a few fun facts about the holiday some love and some hate.
1. Halloween’s Birthday
Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is thought to have its roots in a Celtic festival about 2,000 years ago called Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic.
Similar to All Saints’ Day, people would honor saints, martyrs and loved ones who had passed away that year. It was believed the dead would return to earth as ghosts. Family members would leave out little treats or set a place at the table in memory a deceased loved one. Others believed the ghosts would cause trouble and damage crops, which the Celts used to make predictions about the future.
2. Welcome to America!
It was Irish immigrants who brought Halloween to America in the early nineteenth century.
“Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.” Young women would do tricks with yarn or apple pairings to try to figure out the name of their future husbands. Whoever was first to get the apple in an apple bobbing contest, was believed to be the first to get married.
3. Candy and Halloween Haven’t Always Been BFFs
Candy wasn’t marketed for Halloween until the 1950s. Before there was Halloween candy, there was candy for Washington’s Birthday, which included marzipan cherries and cocoa-dusted logs.
In fact, a trick-or-treater in about 1940-1950, would receive coins, fruit, nuts, cookies, toys, cakes or candy.
4. Halloween Traditions from Around the World
The traditions vary from paying respect to late family members like in Nepal and Czech Republic to Japan’s Obon festival where they dress in traditional Yukata and Happi dress to celebrate their ancestors. England’s version of Halloween is Guy Fawkes Night celebrating the day Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. My favorite is Australia. They spend the holiday hanging out at the beach.