November 28, 2011

Alex Brunkhorst

Ten Halloween Facts We Bet You Didn't Know

  1. Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.

  2. To expand on #1, trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain.

  3. The Jack O’Lantern dates back to the The Legend of Stingy Jack. The mythical figure of Jack wasn’t wanted in heaven or hell, so he’s been roaming the earth with burning coal in a carved turnip ever since. The Irish began to refer to Jack as “Jack of the Lantern” and people now make their own versions of Jack's lanterns to ward away evil spirits.

  4. Pumpkins are native to Central America and Mexico, but are now grown on six continents.

  5. The nation’s most famous Haunted House? The White House, which is supposedly haunted by Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson. Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison.

  6. Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will shell out $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy in 2011.

  7. A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater's future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way.

  8. According to an old tradition, if you want to see a witch on Halloween, put your clothes on inside out and then walk backwards.

  9. In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, All Souls' Day, which takes place on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Halloween. Many families construct an altar to the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks, and fresh water.

  10. Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.



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