Some strange Halloween facts

Halloween became intertwined with a feast day dedicated to the saints and deceased loved ones.

Halloween is a day of costumes, hijinks and an often unhealthy helping of sugary sweets. Many celebrants know that Halloween evolved from ancient Celtic festivals, such as Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the dawn of winter. Celts were no longer spending long days in the pastures, and so they gathered in their homes to tell stories and wait out the winter. When Christianity spread, Halloween became intertwined with a feast day dedicated to the saints and deceased loved ones. “All Hallows Even,” eventually got shortened to “Hallowe’en,” and then Halloween.

Though certain parts of Halloween history are well-known, there are many additional interesting facts about this beloved holiday that are less widely known. Following are some lesser known Halloween tidbits, courtesy of the websites, The Thought & Expression Company and Random History, as well as “The Halloween Handbook” (Citadel Press) by Ed Morrow.

The first jack-o’-lanterns were made from turnips and beets. Pumpkins were used after Halloween was brought to North America.

• The word “witch” is thought to come from the Olde English word “wicce,” meaning “wise woman.” Witches once were held in high regard.

• Trick-or-treating may have originated with a European custom called “souling.” On All Soul’s Day, early Christians would go door-to-door begging for “soul cakes,” which were square pieces of bread with currants. The more cakes a person received, the more prayers he or she would promise to the dead relatives of the cake donors.

Witches may have rubbed a sacred ointment made with a hallucinogenic herb onto their skin. This gave them a feeling of flying, and if they had been fasting, they felt even giddier. Many witches rode on horseback, but those who were poor traveled on foot and carried a broom to launch themselves over streams.

• One-quarter of all the candy sold each year is purchased around Halloween. Halloween candy sales in the United States average about $2 billion annually.

• The owl is a popular Halloween symbol. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches.

• The first-known mention of trick-or-treating was found in print in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta,.

• Ireland is believed by many to be the birthplace of Halloween.

• Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.

• Pumpkins are now carved and displayed as Halloween decorations. Orange is a color of strength and symbolic of the harvest. The largest pumpkin ever grown was more than 1,600 pounds. It was grown by Joe Jutras of North Scituate, RI.

Halloween is a mysterious time, born of various festivals, rituals and symbolism. Over several centuries, the celebration has evolved into a holiday enjoyed by millions, each in their own different ways.

 

Just Posted

Ladysmith offers absolutely the best running High (Street) available

Annual Ladysmith Hill Dash is open to runners who enjoy going uphill fast

It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

Nine overdose deaths in two years “pretty alarming considering this is a small town”

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Spending support helps keep Chemainus Rotary auction going strong

Event a labour of love for club members to generate funds for the community

Robert Barron column: Break-ins violate more than your property

My home has been broken into twice in the decade that I have lived there.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read