Every October, the season of Halloween excites many people throughout North America. Many people celebrate a variety of Halloween traditions. Trick-or-treating is very common among children. People love to dress up in a variety of Halloween costumes. Children go door to door asking for candy. Scary movies become much more common in households around Halloween. Scary faces and fun designs are carved into pumpkins to make Jack-O-Lanterns. But do you know why we do these things? How did Halloween become to be what it is today. Centuries and centuries of traditions have come together to become what we know Halloween to be today. Here are 10 fun, weird, and amusing facts you most likely did not know about Halloween.
- Halloween originated in Ireland
- Trick-or-treating originates back to medieval times
- You used to have to dance for your treats
- Black cats are in danger on Halloween
- Owls were once thought to be witches
- The black and orange colors of Halloween represent life and death
- Halloween costumes were originally meant for helping blend in with real spirits and ghosts
- Halloween was once known as a day of love
- Witches were once known as a highly respected part of society
- Origin of the Jack-O-Lantern
Halloween originated in Ireland
Halloween, October 31st, is actually on the last day of the Celtic calendar. The Celtic New Year starts on November 1st. At the beginning of November, the weather is known to get colder and colder as we come into the winter months. This also marks a time when death is thought to be much more common. Therefore, the time between October 31st and November 1st is when life and death are at its closest. It is thought that ghosts and spirits were then able return to Earth. People would then light bonfires and burn crops and animals as offerings to keep the spirits away.
Trick-or-treating originates back to medieval times
Trick-or-treating hasn’t always been children ringing doorbells for candy. It has a much earlier start than you would think. While there are many different origins of trick-or-treating, the most common origin came from medieval times. Back in medieval times, poor people would go door to door and ask for food. In return, they would pray for their dying or dead family members souls. Many people would trade what was called soul cakes in order to have their family members prayed for. Because of its close proximity with death, it soon became associated with Halloween. This process became known as souling.
You used to have to dance for your treats
As the activities of trick-or-treating progresses, different traditions became more common. What started out as people praying for others to get their food quickly evolved? Soon they were expected to do more than just pray. They would often dance, perform, tell jokes, or even sing a song. Many people even had dance routine choreographed.
While this tradition may seem like a thing of the past, some places still honor the tradition. In Des Moines, Iowa, they have a tradition called Beggars Night around Halloween. This started back in 1938 when the Des Moines police department answered an overwhelming amount of calls regarding vandalism on Halloween. In order to cut back on the vandalism, they created Beggards Night. Kids ring the doorbell and either tell jokes, recite a poem, dance, or sing a song in place of a “trick”.
Black cats are in danger on Halloween
In fact, black cats are in so much danger around Halloween that many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats throughout the whole month of October. Black cats were once known to be a part of a witch. They not only protected and held part of their powers, but they were also known to be spies for their witch. When witches were burned at the stake, their cats were burned with them so their powers couldn’t be protected.
Many people, even today, people believe black cats can pose a real danger to them. They believe black cats will bring bad luck wherever they go. Some people will do anything they can to find a black cat to sacrifice on Halloween. They will go as far to steal their neighbors cat. If you have a black cat, be sure to keep them locked up and protected around the season of Halloween.
Why not treat your lovely cat better? Check out our Top 5 Best Halloween Costumes for Cats.
Owls were once thought to be witches
It was once believed that witches were able to turn themselves into owls. This is how owls got their association with Halloween. When an owl screech is said to sound like a witch’s cackle. Witches would turn themselves into owls so they could easily swoop down and suck the blood out of babies.
In addition, owls were also thought to be messengers for witches. If you hear an owl hoot, they are signaling to their witch. When an owl is around, it is thought that their witch is near.
The black and orange colors of Halloween represent life and death
Black is commonly known as a color that represents death, mourning, and sadness. It is also the color of Halloween related items such as spiders, black cats, and bats. Halloween is also celebrated at night which in turn creates the black color associated with Halloween.
Orange is the polar opposite of black. Orange represents life, spirituality, and happiness. Orange is also a color widely associated with autumn. Orange is the color leaves turn and it is also the color of fire. This is how Halloween got its associate with the black and orange colors.
Halloween costumes were originally meant for helping blend in with real spirits and ghosts
Because Halloween is the day between the living and the dead, people used to have concerns around ghosts and spirits that could wander the Earth. They felt as if they needed to blend in so they wouldn’t be noticed among the spirits. This resulted in various different costumes to disguise themselves. Originally, people would dress themselves in dead animal skin and animal skulls so they wouldn’t be noticed by the ghosts and spirits. In modern day, There are plenty of stylish design costumes for children and especially for young girls teenager they are showing off there celebration with this Top 5 Best Gothic Halloween Costumes.
Halloween was once known as a day of love
There are many different Halloween superstitions. The Irish were known to have many surrounded the idea of romance and finding your soulmate. Fortune telling was a common practice. Fortune tellers would said to be able to tell you who your soulmate was, where they were, and how you were going to meet them.
The Irish used to perform what is called “The Cabbage Test”. To perform the cabbage test, you wear a blindfold and run into a field of cabbage. You grab the first one your hand touches. If your cabbage has roots and dirt still attached, there is wealth in store for you and your love. Also, if your cabbage is sweet, you will have a kind and gentle love.
Checkout: Top 5 Best Halloween Decorations in 2018
Witches were once known as a highly respected part of society
Witches weren’t always sought out to be burned at the stake or drowned in water. The word witch stems from Wicca. Wicca means “wise one”. Witchcraft actually means “craft of the wise”. With their power, they were known to be able to centralize the power of the Earth to help others. However, they soon became feared because of this same power.
It is said that Christianity is the root of the fear of witches. Leaders of the Christian church feared a centralized power in a witch. They didn’t like the idea that a single woman could hold that much power. This was the beginning of the Salem witch trials.
Origin of the Jack-O-Lantern
Originally, Jack-O-Lanterns weren’t always carved from pumpkins. They were carved in many different items of food. However, they evolved into being carved mainly from pumpkins as this was much easier than turnips or beets.
The term “Jack-O-Lantern” stems from the Irish myth of Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack was a man who was invited to have a drink with the devil. However, Stingy Jack did not want to pay for his drink. He somehow convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin so Stingy Jack could use him to pay for his drink.
However, Stingy Jack decided to just keep the coin. He put the coin in his pocket next to a cross to prevent the devil from changing back from a coin. Jack soon changed his mind and decided to change the devil back. However, he tricked the devil again by convincing the devil to climb a tree in which he has already carved a cross. The devil was now stuck in this tree. Jack didn’t let him out until the devil promised not to bother him.
When Jack died, God would not allow him into Heaven due to his actions. However, due to the promise the devil had made to Jack, he could not allow him into Hell. The devil sent Jack into the dark night with just a single burning coal. Jack then put this coal into a carven turnip to light his way through the night. He was then referred to as Jack of the Lantern or Jack-O-Lantern.