The word Halloween is derived from the term, "All Hallows Eve," which occurred on Oct. 31. "All Saints Day" or "All Hallows Day" was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.
Some say that the origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland around the time of Christ.
The jack-o’-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Stingy Jack was out getting sloshed with the Devil when Jack convinced his drinking partner to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks without spending money. Jack then put the Devil, shaped like a coin, into his pocket, which also contained a silver cross that kept the Devil from transforming back. Jack promised to free the Devil as long as the Devil wouldn’t bother him for a year, and if he died, the Devil could never claim his soul. Jack tricked the Devil again later, getting him to pick a piece of fruit out of a tree and then carving a cross into the bark when the Devil was in the branches. This trick bought Jack another 10 years of devil-free living.
When Jack finally died, God decided he wasn’t fit for heaven, but the Devil had promised never to claim his soul for hell. So Jack was sent off to roam Earth with only a burning coal for light. He put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, and Stingy Jack became “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack o’ Lantern.” Based on this myth, the Irish carved scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack or any other spirits of the night.
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8 Super Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween!
1.Originally, you had to dance for your “treat”.
In some early versions of trick-or-treating, men paraded door-to-door, and boys often followed, begging for coins. Most of these early trick-or-treaters were poor and actually needed the money, but wealthy children also joined in the fun. Door-to-door “begging” was mostly stopped in the 1930s, but re-emerged later in the century to distract kids from pulling Halloween pranks.
2.Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick’s Day.
This Halloween prototype was eventually disrupted and adapted by Christian missionaries into celebrations closer to what we celebrate today, including partly by the not-Irish St. Patrick, whose work was later mostly recognized by Americans.
3.If you’d been around for the earliest Halloween celebrations, you might have worn animal skins and heads.
On this day, merry-makers often dressed as evil spirits simply by blackening their faces. The leader of the Samhain parades wore a white sheet and carried a wooden horse head or a decorated horse skull (a modern Welsh version of this costume is shown above). Young people also celebrated by cross-dressing.
4.Jack-o’-lanterns were once made out of turnips, beets and potatoes — not pumpkins.
Before pumpkin, people carved scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack or any other spirits of the night.
5.Halloween used to be a great day to find your soulmate.
In some parts of Ireland, people celebrated Halloween by playing romantic fortune-telling games, according to Nicholas Rogers’ “Halloween: From Pagan Ritual To Party Night.”These games allegedly predicted who they’d marry, and when. Since Halloween, like Valentine’s Day, was one of the main celebrations of the year where young people could mingle with the opposite sex, it was also considered a good day to scope out a sweetheart.
6. In a few American towns, Halloween was originally referred to as “Cabbage Night”.
This came from a Scottish fortune-telling game, where girls used cabbage stumps to predict information about their future husbands. In the early Framingham, Massachusetts, teens skipped the fortune-telling and simply went around throwing cabbage at their neighbors’ houses, according to Framingham Legends & Lore. This was no isolated tradition: In late 19th century America, country boys reportedly rejoiced in throwing cabbage, corn and assorted rotten vegetables, according to “Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure.”
7.Some animal shelters won’t allow the adoption of black cats around Halloween for fear they’ll be sacrificed.
It’s unclear whether black cats are actually sacrificed around Halloween, but various animal shelters refuse to let people adopt these cats in the lead-up to the holiday. Lynda Garibaldi, director of The Cats’ Cradle in Morganton, North Carolina, told The Huffington Post that the shelter “does not adopt out black cats during the month of October ... because of superstition and the concern that the wrong people (who might harm them) might adopt them.”
8.Studies have shown that Halloween actually makes kids act more evil.
One study in particular found that unsupervised costumed children in groups were far more likely to steal candy and money than both non-costumed kids and children not in a group. Another similar study found that masked children were significantly more likely to take more Halloween candy than they were supposed to if they believed there was no adult supervision.
May your Jack-o-Lantern burn bright all through the night! Happy scary Halloween…hope it’s the best one yet!
And do not forget to share interesting legends and facts about Halloween with your friends!!