It’s that time of the year when you soak in the spookiest spirits. Halloween is a ghoul-themed festival celebrated on October 31 annually. The festival is also known as All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve. Halloween's most iconic traditions are deeply rooted in history dating back to ancient Ireland. While Halloween will look a little different this year the spooky decorations and delicious fall treats will surely make an appearance.
Halloween is a celebration of all things spooky and in the western countries it is surrounded by a few odd traditions like trick-or-treat and pumpkin carving. Ever wondered why jack-o'-lanterns exist? Or why people eat apples in October? And why black cats are so mysterious? Here are a few interesting facts about how some of today's practices got started as well as other fun tidbits about Halloween.
Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival
The roots of the Halloween can be traced to the ancient Celtic end-of-harvest festival of Samhain. During Samhain people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. They believed that on the night of October 31 called All Hallows' Eve - the worlds of the living and the dead intersected. On this day ghosts were believed to roam on Earth to help predict the future and the Celts welcomed them by dressing up in ghost-like clothes.
Carving of jack-o'-lanterns
Jack-o'-lanterns originated in Ireland from an old Celtic legend about a man named "Stingy Jack" who used to play tricks on the devil. After Stingy Jack died the devil sent him into the night with only burning coal which Jack put into a carved turnip to light his way. As per the legend the ghost of Stingy Jack still wanders on the Earth so the Irish used to carve scary faces into turnips and put them in windows to scare his spirit away. When this tradition got popular in America then people started using pumpkins.
Getting spooked by black cats
The association of black cats and devil dates back to the Middle Age when these dark kitties were considered as a symbol of the devil. Centuries later it was found that witches often kept cats with themselves, especially the black ones as companions. People started believing that the cats were a witch’s “familiar”- animals that assisted them in dark magic and the two have been linked ever since.
Bobbing for apples
This game dates back to an ancient Roman festival called Pomona - the goddess of agriculture and abundance. Several variations existed but the main gist was that young men and women would be able to foretell their future relationships based on the game. In the 18th-century apple bobbing rose in popularity in the British empire and was yet another way to flirt with a potential mate.
Decorating everything with black and orange
The classic Halloween colours can also be traced back from their origins back to the Celtic festival Samhain. Black colour represented the death of summer while orange signifies the autumn harvest season - the changes of leaves, decoration of pumpkins, results of the fall harvest.
Candy corn was originally called ‘chicken feed’
Many people argue that candy corn tastes like chicken feed but that’s not how it got its original name. These candy corns were created in the 1880s by George Renninger. It was sold to the masses in Goelitz Confectionery Company boxes with a rooster on the front in order to appeal to America's agricultural roots. The sugary recipe has gone largely unchanged since the 1880s.
The night before Halloween is called mischief night
The pre-Halloween tradition on October 30 also known as Devil’s Night - the night before Halloween induces mischief of all sorts. The phenomenon often varies from region to region. Several sources suggest that pranks were originally part of May Day celebrations. When Scottish and Irish immigrants came to America they brought along the tradition of celebrating Mischief Night as a part of Halloween which was great for candy-fueled pranksters.
Gorging on candy
The act of going door-to-door has been a part of Halloween celebration since long. Until the middle of the 20th century it was not necessary that kids received treats of candy. Toys, coins, fruits and nuts were also given out to the kids. The rise in the popularity of trick-or-treat in the 1950s inspired candy companies to make a marketing push with small individually wrapped confections.
Trick-or-treat, jack-o'-lanterns and creepy costumes are some of the best traditions of Halloween. Share these fascinating facts with friends as you sort through your candy haul. Trainman wishes you a very Happy Halloween! How are you planning to celebrate Halloween? Share with us in the comments below. Celebrate this day with your loved ones and book your tickets through the Trainman app. Download the Trainman App to check PNR Status of your ticket, to get running status, to get train seat availability and many such features.