Halloween is the spookiest night of the year, where some people say spirits can wander the earth freely, and others say their children can wander the neighborhood unattended, trick-or-treating or causing havoc. But how much do you really know about Halloween? As Hallow’s Eve approaches, learn a little bit more about the holiday. You might be surprised at what you find. Here, Psst.ph shares a few interesting facts about Halloween. Read on…
Dressing up on Halloween comes from the Celts
Celts believed Samhain was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal world was porous and spirits could get through. Because of this belief, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes and masks during the festival to ward off or befuddle any evil spirits.
The term “Halloween” comes from the Catholics.
Hallowmas is a three-day Catholic holiday where saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. At the start of the 11th century, it was decreed by the pope that it would last from Oct. 31 (All Hallow’s Eve) until Nov. 2, most likely because that was when Samhain was celebrated and the church was trying to convert the pagans.
“All Hallow’s Eve” then evolved into “All Hallow’s Even,” and by the 18th century it was commonly referred to as “Hallowe’en.”
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.
We should carve turnips, not pumpkins
The origin of Jack-O-Lanterns comes from a Celtic folk tale of a stingy farmer named Jack would constantly play tricks on the devil. The devil responded by forcing him to wander purgatory with only a burning lump of coal from hell. Jack took the coal and made a lantern from a turnip, using it to guide his lost soul. The myth was brought over by Irish families fleeing the potato famine in the 1800s, and since turnips were hard to come by in the U.S., America’s pumpkins were used as a substitute to guide lost souls and keep evil spirits like “Jack of the Lantern” away.
Halloween is the second-most commercial holiday of the year worldwide.
The candy industry rakes up in terms of business, thanks to Halloween (that’s 90 million pounds of chocolate). We spend billions annually on items including candy, costumes, and decorations, according to History.com. (The most commercial holiday worldwide is obviously Christmas.)
Filipinos celebrate Halloween differently
Halloween isn’t a holiday in the Philippines, but November 1 and 2 (collectively known as “Undas”) are. Undas is the time when Filipinos flock to cemeteries, pay their respects to their dearly departed and catch up with a relative or two.
Prior to Undas, Filipino employees enjoy their last working days in October by throwing Halloween parties. They wear costumes, exchange treats and do other fun activities to ramp up the spooky atmosphere. And as long as their work isn’t disrupted, most employers won’t mind — and will even make room in their schedule to join in the festivities!
Trick-or-treating has been around for a long time.
Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as “guising” where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called “souling.”
Trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. The popular “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to popularized the dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door.
A full moon on Halloween is extremely rare
Though a common trope in horror movies and Halloween decorations with witches flying across the full moon. According to the experts, the next full moon on Halloween won’t occur until the year 2020. The most recent Halloween full moon was back in 2001, and before that it was in 1955.
There you have it folks, now you know a little more stuff about Halloween. You’re ready to do some party and a little bit of trick o’ treating!