Halloween has been celebrated in many forms but it has been a holiday for over 1000 years.
Halloween has evolved over the years and it has been influenced by different religions and different cultures but originally it was a Celtic Pagan holiday.
At the end of the harvest season as the winter started it was thought that the veil that separated the world of the living from the world of dead would lift for one night, the darkest night of the year. On that night it was thought that the spirits of the dead would return to drag back to the world of the dead people who had wronged them. In order to confuse the spirits and send them away people would carve turnips into horrific faces and put candles inside to light them up. Big bonfires were also lit to keep the spirits away. People would leave food and drink out as offerings to the spirits. Now pumpkins are used as lanterns because back when Halloween started to be celebrated in the US turnips weren’t available but pumpkins were. Here are some other fun facts about the history of Halloween:
Halloween pranks weren’t always harmless – These days Halloween pranks are not usually anything more than toilet papering a tree in someone’s yard or egging someone’s car or leaving a bag of doggie poop on someone’s doorstep. But in the 1930s when Halloween was just starting to become a popular holiday in the US the pranks pulled by children and adults involved a lot of very real property damage. Fires were set, glass windows broken, and other items were seriously damaged. Sometimes homes were even set on fire. People started handing out treats and money as a way to be sure their homes and properties weren’t damaged. Sometimes animals or other items were stolen, although they were usually returned later.
Black and orange are the official colors of Halloween – Have you ever wondered how black and orange became associated with Halloween? Orange is the color of the harvest and black is the color of death and darkness. Since Halloween occurs at the end of the harvest and at the start of the darkest time of the year when the dead were thought to roam the Earth black and orange became the colors used to represent Halloween.
Many of the superstitions associated with Halloween were developed in the Middle Ages – The Middle Ages were a time when most people believed in witchcraft and many people believed that people could die from hexes and spells. The superstitions that spiders were the spirits of the dead who watched over the living and the superstition that black cats were bad luck stemmed from the widely held beliefs in the Middle Ages that witchcraft and evil was very much a part of daily life. Even now black cats are considered to be in danger at Halloween because it is thought that some people will kill them or torture them for being evil. Some animal rescues won’t adopt out black cats around Halloween to protect the cats.