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Halloween or the eve of All Hallows' (Saints') Day has been celebrated on October 31 every year for the past 2000 years.
Halloween marks the beginning of Hallowmas season, dedicated to the saints, martyrs, and other departed souls. There are several theories rumored to trace the root of the Halloween celebrations.
One of the theories suggested that the origin of Halloween roots back to the eve of the Christian Celtic festival. The Celts that inhabited northern France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom believed that the dead returned on the festival Samhain to the Earth, around the end of the harvest. While the Samhain festival is known to have Pagan roots, there are speculations that Samhain is Christianized as All Saints' Day or All Hallow's Day.
Yet another theory claims that Halloween or All Hallows' Eve originated as a mere Christian holiday, being the eve of All Hallow's Day. Many countries now celebrate Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, whereas the Halloween festival was confined to Scotland and Ireland until the 19th century. It was the Irish and the Scottish populations that introduced the Halloween culture to North America. Further, Halloween folklore spread to several countries by the 20th and 21st centuries. Halloween traditions, including trick-or-treating, attending Halloween night parties, wearing Halloween costumes, lighting bonfire, carving pumpkins and creating jack-o'-lanterns, visiting haunted landmarks such as a haunted house, playing games such as fortune-telling, apple bobbing, watching horror movies, attending Christian church services, reading or listening to horror stories or tales, playing tricks, and lighting candle on the grave of dead in their memory, have fascinating spooky stories.
While carving jack-o'-lanterns is a common Halloween custom, the fastest pumpkin carving is yet another event. Ron Wallace created the world record by growing the largest pumpkin that weighed over 1502 lb (681.2 kg), whereas Stephen Clarke holds the record of carving a pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern within 16.4 seconds. Yet another record is held by Keene, New Hampshire, the USA, for lighting most jack-o'-lanterns. The origin of the tradition of carving jack-o'-lantern roots back to Ireland, where people carved jack-o'-lanterns or frightening faces using turnips, potatoes, or gourds rather than pumpkins to frighten away the evil spirits. The story behind the origin of the jack-o'-lantern revolves around a legend named Stingy Jack, as stated by the Irish legend. Jack used to repeatedly trap the devil and would set forward a condition to free the devil. He would ask the devil never to let his soul go to hell. But when Jack died, heaven didn't want his soul either. Thus, Jack's soul was left wandering the Earth as a ghost. The devil was then said to have lent Jack a carved turnip carrying burning coal to light and locate his way around. Since then, locals started carving horror or spooky faces out using turnips or gourds to scare away bad spirits. Likewise, every Halloween tradition and custom has a fascinating story that can be traced several to several hundred or thousand years back. Ponder upon more such trivia and fun Halloween facts throughout the article!
If you enjoy this article, why not also read our facts about energy and facts about the heart right here on Kidadl.
Booooo! Scary horror things are sure to scare the daylights out of you but are fun to romanticize later. Similarly, from a haunted house to a black cat, here are some scary and fun Halloween facts for you to read.
Halloween is said to mark the end of the harvest season and the commencement of the winter season. Halloween is also celebrated as the eve of All Hallows' Day. Also known as All Hallows' Eve or All Saints' Day or Allhalloween is a day dedicated to the martyrs, departed, or the dead. Halloween season is the time when spirits are speculated to walk the Earth. They were the Christian missionaries who brought up the idea of intermingling the dead and the living. While we celebrate the birth dates and mourn on the death anniversaries, celebrating in the memory of the dead might sound ironic.
Wearing Halloween costumes and disguising as ghosts is yet another popular Halloween custom. Disguising as horror characters was a creative way to escape hungry ghosts. People disguising themselves as horror characters speculated that by being masked as ghosts, the spirits would mistake them as one of themselves and leave them. Often children and young people, disguised as scary characters or ghosts, are engaged in customary celebrations of trick or treating. Trick or treating is a tradition wherein people disguised in masks move around from door to door, asking the question 'trick or treat?' While 'treat' is often in the form of a Halloween candy such as candy corn, if not treated, the ones refusing to treat with Halloween candy or kind are threatened with having tricks played on them or performing mischief. Usually, children prefer Halloween candy or chocolates, although treating was discouraged due to the consumption of sugar.
Likewise, poor people also stepped out from door to door asking for soul cakes, exchanging soul cakes in return for prayers. The origin of trick or treating has its roots back in medieval times, whereas modern trick or treating is quite different from the Celts' traditional custom of trick or treating since modern trick or treating involves disguising or dressing in costume and humming or singing rhymes.
While Halloween was a festival of Irish and Scottish people, it spread to North America by the Irish and Scottish migrants, spreading the Halloween celebrations throughout several other countries by the 20th and 21st centuries. Similarly, Halloween is celebrated as the festival of hungry ghosts or Yue Lan in China, where the Chinese population offers food and treats to calm angry spirits or ghosts looking for revenge. Also, the Lantern Festival is one Halloween festival celebrated in China. Chinese people are known to hang animal or dragon-shaped lanterns around their house to guide ghosts back to their place.
The fortune-telling game was a customary Halloween celebration wherein young women were assigned their prospective suitors or partners. Also, young women believed that Halloween practices of bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins might bring their love. While women used to eat fruits kept in a carved pumpkin, hoping to see their future husband in their dreams, women would peel the bobbed apples and throw them over their shoulders, hoping the peels might reveal their prospective spouse's initials. Also, on the night of Halloween, women often sat in front of a mirror in a dark room, staring at it while they combed their hair and eat an apple, often hoping to see their true love's face reflected in the mirror.
The Halloween theme is strongly associated with black and orange colors, wonder why? While black symbolizes darkness, orange signifies the warmth of the fall harvest. In addition to black and orange, purple is too a Halloween color. You might often see purple while strolling through the market for Halloween shopping. Purple has its connection to religious beliefs and practices. The owl is one of the popular Halloween characters. In medieval Europe, hearing an owl's call was speculated to be a sign that someone was about to die, although this was not based on facts. Also, an owl was considered a witch. While the 'witch' is considered a bad name to call someone, the term 'witch' is derived from the Old English word 'wicce' that means 'wise woman' in literary terms. Additionally, in the past, Wiccans were among the highly respected people. Likewise, the black cat, bat, and spider are also closely associated with Wiccans and make Halloween symbols. Thus, owls, bats, spiders, and black cats make up the Halloween decorations with black, white, purple, and orange color themes. Witches are strongly associated with Halloween as it is speculated that witches held meetings on Halloween night. There is a Halloween tradition wherein people walk backward, wearing their clothes inside out, hoping to sight a witch at midnight.
Long ago, Halloween was known as 'Cabbage night,' particularly in American states, named after the Scottish fortune-telling game, which was also a popular Halloween custom wherein young women try to predict their prospective partner. Halloween announces the arrival of the winter season. Thus, bonfires are lit on Halloween to ensure sunrise after the long winter months. While we are quite familiar with bonfires, you might fail to trace their origin to bone fires. Yes, the term 'bonfire' is originated from 'bone fire.' Bone fires were lit by Samhain priests by burning cattle bones in the flames. The bonfire is lit using wood, not cattle bones. Hence, bone fires are modified into bonfires.
Silly string is a flexible toy, basically a plastic string, that is often used on festive occasions or for celebrations, including the Halloween festivities. But it was outlawed since the silly string was discarded in large amounts, hampering the ecosystem.
Vibing during the Halloween season? There are several artists out there who composed and sung several Halloween-themed songs like 'Monster mash,' 'Zombie,' 'A nightmare on my street,' and 'This is a Halloween' to add to your Halloween celebrating mood. Also, a class horror film of 1978, titled 'Halloween,' was yet another art, filmed on such a tight budget that the cheapest commodities, including the clown mask, were used in the making, dedicated to the scary occasion of Halloween.
While 'Sanguivoriphobia' is the fear of vampires, 'Seleneophobia' is the fear of the moon, and 'Skelephobia' is the fear of skeletons. Likewise, the fear of Halloween is termed 'Samhainophobia.'
During World War II, the customary practice of trick or treating was called for 'time out.' Due to the ongoing conflict, the children and young population were too scared to move house to house, asking for trick or treat. Also, due to food shortage and rationing during the tough times, there wasn't enough sugar to produce candy for Halloween. Thus, the tradition of trick or treat was paused until the commencement of peaceful times. The tradition was popularized by peanuts after World War II.
Halloween celebration dates back to over 6,000 years. On the other hand, the oldest official celebrations for Halloween in the United States of America are traced back to Anoka, Minnesota. In 1926, an American illusionist, stunt performer, and escapologist, Harry Houdini, died at 52 years of age. He is remembered as the 'Genius of Escape.' His death anniversary is yet another event to be mourned upon on Halloween day. Also, in the United States of America, the day is celebrated as National Doorbell Day.
Also, an eight-year-old boy named Timothy O’Bryan died due to the consumption of Halloween candy. It was reported that the child's candy contained a poison called cyanide. The investigation reported a sad truth that the child was poisoned by his own father as his father had taken a life insurance policy on his children, costing $20,000. The father also attempted to poison his daughter to claim the cost of the insurance policy.
While Halloween is always associated with spooky, scary, and daring practices, what you might not be aware of is that Halloween also sparks romance. In the past, Scottish girls were recorded to throw hazelnuts that were named after their prospective husbands in bonfires. If the nut exploded, it would symbolize that the man named on the hazelnut does not make her future husband, whereas if the nut burned, the name on the hazelnut would make her future husband. Girls for several years in the past have been eating nuts, including walnuts, nutmeg, and hazelnuts, with a hope to see their prospective grooms. Nonetheless, bobbing for apples has been yet another popular fortune-telling custom of Halloween for women since American colonial times. Herein, young women mark apples before they are collected into a water tub, and the name of the man that bobs on the apple is considered as a prospective partner for coupling.
The Halloween of 1991 was hit by a 'megastorm' that primarily affected over 23 million people living in Lowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the United States of America. The perfect storm led to an ice cover of approximately 31 in (78.7 cm) over the ground by the end of Halloween midnight.
The storm hit the American states so hard that the weather could not change for the following two days. On the next day or All Hallows' Day, November 1, the children got an extra day off to enjoy their Halloween candy. Also, several schools and businesses were shut down on November 1, 1991. While the kids were quite excited about their holiday, they were disappointed when they could not enjoy watching television or listening to the radio since power lines and poles were damaged due to the ice cover. Also, some got to spend some quality time with their families whereas others couldn't go back home. Several people died during the Halloween blizzard of 1991. While some died due to heart attacks while clearing the snow, others met accidents and either lost their lives or were severely injured. The temperature dropped as low as -3 F (-19.4 C) on November 4, 1991.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for scary Halloween facts, then why not take a look at Harry Potter facts or unicorn facts.
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