Happy Halloween! Where did it come from and how did it start?

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year where some people say spirits can wander the earth freely, and for most it’s a time for candy, costumes and decorating your house. But how did it become this way? How much do you really know about Halloween?

Here are five terrifying facts about this mysterious night.

1. Halloween is more Irish than St Patrick’s Day

Halloween's origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called "Samhain". Celts believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave "treats" out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits. Even though the Celts were not solely based in Ireland, the majority of the customs started taking shape in Celtic Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day on the other hand, originated from Irish Immigrants in America and was only a minor religious holiday until the 1970s in Ireland.

2. Halloween symbols aren't random.

Black cats, spiders, and bats are all Halloween symbols because of their spooky history and ties to Wiccans. All three were thought to be the familiars of witches in the middle ages, and are often associated with bad luck.

Bats are even further connected to Halloween by the ancient Samhain ritual of building a bonfire, which drove away insects and attracted bats.

3. Dress up and scare off the evil spirits

You might think putting on masks and costumes is just for kids, but it was actually adopted by pagans in the community during Samhain to scare off evil spirits as they believed that spirits would be able to walk freely in our world.

What started out as animal skins and heads has turned into something a little less gruesome now.

 

4. Jack-O-Lanterns were originally made from turnips

The British tradition of carving a scary face into a vegetable was originally done with turnips. Then Irish immigrants took the idea of the Jack-O-Lantern to America, they started using pumpkins, because they were cheaper than turnips.

The Jack-O-Lantern got its name from an Irish legend who was a drunk man that always played tricks on everyone. In one instance, he played a trick on the devil and the devil placed a curse on him. When Jack died, he was not allowed to enter heaven because he was a mean person. He wasn’t able to enter hell, too since the devil wouldn’t let him. The devil game him a burning ember, which he then placed inside a hollow turnip. From then on, he was known as Jack-O-Lantern.

5. Halloween trick-or-treating

In Medieval times, poor people would dress like ghosts and spirits and perform songs and say prayers for the dead in exchange for food or money. By the nineteenth century, Christianity had spread. To gain more converts, it was common for the church to adopt pagan practices to be more appealing to the local people who did not worship as they did.

This tradition was then brought to the US where it evolved into a night of mischief and trouble making into the practice we know today as trick-or-treating.

 

Hope you all have a wicked Halloween!