Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today's Trivia - Origin Of Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays. It can be traced back several hundred years before the birth of Christ to the festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on the last day of the Celtic calendar by the Druids, a pre-Christian Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe that we have learned about through Greek writers, the Roman Caesars and early records found in Ireland.


Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the veil between this world and the other world was so thin that the dead and some of the living could move freely between the two worlds. During the festival of Samhain, meaning ‘summer’s end’, the Celts gathered to sacrifice crops and animals for the Celtic deities. They also wore costumes, generally consisting of animal heads and skins, and lit huge bonfires in honour of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. They also considered it a time when the future could be more easily predicted and carried out the ritual of fortune-telling. In some Celtic traditions, men would run around the boundaries of their farms after sunset with blazing torches to protect their families from malevolent spirits.


Some trace the origins of the present day ‘trick-or-treating’ to this festival. Fearful that unfriendly spirits would cause damage to their properties and livestock, the Celts began a tradition of placing gifts and treats on their doorsteps as a way to appease them. (Cause an angry spirit can be a real mean spirit...) There’s no guarantee that this is true, but it makes for a really cool theory.

16 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I'll just get that blazing torch ready for Mr. Sulky when he comes home.

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  2. I'd never heard of the run-around-with-a-blazing-torch tradition before. Interesting!

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    1. I hadn't either before this. I'm always running across interesting information. Love it!

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  3. Mmmmm, self serve candy. I like that idea. No knocking on doors, just walk right up and get your treats!

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    1. I like that idea, too! One of my neighbours did it last year. Your only wish is that the kids just take a small amount and leave some for the others.

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  4. I don't plan on wearing any animal heads but I do still have my witch hat! Those crazy Celts know how to throw a good party! Happy Halloween!

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    1. Haha..oh gosh, no, no animal heads for me either! A witch hat is good enough.

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  5. I especially appreciate that Halloween is on of the few non religious holidays we've got too.
    I must confess..I was eating some candy today ;P C left the house and I ran straight to the stash we've got for tomorrow,hee

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    1. I like holidays that everyone can participate in regardless of their beliefs. That's always the best.

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  6. Ha ha! Great history for such a great celebration! And what will you be going out as this year Martha? Most of us will goig as ducks this year I think!

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    1. Hahaha...you may be right, Francie! This year I decided to dress up as a middle-aged woman. Oh...wait...I think I already am! Darn...

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  7. Actually we NEVER get anyone at our door on Halloween....is it because we eat raw garlic or is it because Sophie licks them to pieces...I don't know which!

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    1. It may be Sophie, but the garlic would certainly do it :)

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  8. I was browsing for Halloween related blogs and I came by your post. Please allow me to pin some remarkable photos in here :D Thank you so much! I’m also sharing a post of the usual activities in our country, for some of you to know what is halloween in the Philippines .
    Cheers and keep up writing nice posts !

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! It's always nice to see new people visit. I will check out the link you've provided. Have a good day!

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