The Top 5 Spookiest Facts About Halloween
The History of Halloween
Halloween is known to have originated around 4000 B.C. and was originally celebrated as a Celtic ceremony in Ireland. The sacred festival was called Samhain (Samhainophobia is the fear of this holiday) and it translates to "summer's end." The Celtic's believed that only at the end of summer would the veil between the living and the dead would become very thin. They also believed that ghosts and spirits with special powers could roam freely on the earth. To protect themselves on this day, they would have bonfire parties while dressed in costumes for disguise. The Celtic custom was to light one large bonfire per family on Halloween. After the fire had gone out, each member of the various families that had helped to make the bonfire would make a circle of the ashes from each fire. Within this circle and near the circumference would they each place a pebble. If on the next day, any stone was displaced or had been damaged, it was considered to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months. Some Celtics would leave food and treats out to attract ghosts and spirits on this day.
Later the Christian religion would alter the name to All Hallow's Eve because it is the day before All Saint's Day. During the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Eventually, All Saint's Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. Irish immigrants to the United States during the 19th century increased the popularity of celebrating Samhain but in a more modern way. It wasn't until the 20th century that traditions such as pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating were introduced into the celebration of Samhain.
Modern Halloween Traditions
Since Halloween is originally a ceremonial holiday, many traditions have been incorporated during the celebration. These traditions have adapted and evolved with the ever-changing times to accommodate children and adults of all ages. Some of the most popular modern Halloween traditions include:
- Decorating housing interior and exterior
- Carving pumpkins
- Dressing up in a costume, fun or scary
- Trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating
- Halloween costume parties
- Lots and lots of candy, sweets, and treats
Do you celebrate Halloween?
The Top 5 Spookiest Things About Halloween
There are many different things about Halloween that make it so fun and spooky at the same time. The different traditions and inclusions allow for a very diverse holiday with a variety of options. I chose the top five spookiest things about Halloween because I wanted to get down to the root of Halloween, like why is it so spooky and what are some people afraid of when it comes to celebrating this particular holiday. There are things that I didn't know about Halloween until I began writing this article, plus this holiday is one that is widely debated among all races and religions for various reasons. Enjoy and have a happy Halloween!
1. You Can See a Witch at Midnight Only on Halloween.
According to old folklore, this is a true tradition! If a person puts their clothing on inside out and walks backwards, a witch can be spotted at midnight but only on Halloween.
2. The Colors of Halloween.
The traditional colors of Halloween are orange and black. These colors represent a Pagan celebration for autumn and the seasonal harvest. Orange represents the color of the crops and the leaves changing. The black color represents the death of the summer season and into the color orange. So in this case, orange is the new black!
3. Black Cat Adoptions are Often Prohibited on Halloween.
While there has never been any evidence of black cats being sacrificed or killed on Halloween, many American animal shelters will refuse the adoption of black cats around this time of the season to ensure it does not happen.
4. A Day to Die a Strange and Sudden Death.
- Harry Houdini, 1926, was hit by J. Gordon Whitehead, a student at McGill University in Canada, in the abdomen several times to test his claim that he could withstand being hit anywhere above the waist without being hurt. Too bad he didn't give the magician a heads up before punching him multiple times. Houdini died eleven days later, on Halloween. He was 52.
- River Pheonix, 1993, was partying at The Viper Room club partially owned by actor Johnny Depp at the time on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip when he collapsed on the sidewalk out front and began convulsing. He died at the scene on Halloween from an overdose of heroin and cocaine. The club closed every year on Halloween until Johnny Depp sold his share in 2004. He was 23.
5. Fire is Creepy on Halloween.
Candles on Halloween are very creepy and superstitious. There are certain things to follow and remember when lighting candles on Halloween. First of all, only new black and orange candles should be lit on Halloween for the best of luck. Lighting a new orange candle at midnight on Halloween and letting it burn until sunrise the next morning is said to bring very good luck whereas if it goes out during Halloween it is said to be very bad luck. Halloween candles are only to be used during Halloween, otherwise, bad luck and strange things can occur. It is believed that gazing into the flame of a candle will momentarily allow a person to see into their future. If a candle goes out suddenly, it is said that a ghost is nearby. It is an omen of bad luck for a person to accidentally spill candle wax, or burns themselves by wax or flame on Halloween.
Placing only a single lit candle into a jack-o-lantern is said to keep evil ghosts and spirits away. Bonfires are also said to keep ghosts and spirits away. Both are also bad luck to let go out during Halloween.
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© 2014 Cristale Adams