Author Topic: Hallowe'en traditions  (Read 72 times)

Don Seer

Hallowe'en traditions
« on: October 31, 2003, 08:23:43 AM »
just a topical thang :)


Hallowe'en traditions Oct 31 2003


Paul Carey, The Western Mail
Trick or Treating

Many people wrongly believe that trick or treating began in the United States, but like the Hallowe'en festival itself it began as a Celtic festival.

The festival of Samhain marked the end of the light half of the year and the beginning of the dark. As well as celebrating the harvest it was believed that on this night the spirits of those who had died that year walked the earth. People would extinguish fires to make their homes unwelcoming to spirits and dress up and make noises to frighten away the ghosts.

Druids would visit homes, offering prayers against possession in exchange for food and gifts. If gifts were not offered then the druids would curse them instead - the original trick or treat.

Why we have Jack-O-Lanterns:

Legend has it that in the 18th Century an Irish blacksmith named Jack was banned from entering Heaven for colluding with the Devil.

Damned to walk the earth Jack asked the Devil for light and was given a burning coal ember which he placed in a gouged out turnip. Making a lantern from hollowed turnips on All Hallow's Eve became a tradition in Ireland. When Irish emigrants arrived in America in the 1840s they had no turnips but found pumpkins a better alternative for making the Jack-O-Lanterns.

Why we bob for apples:

When the Roman Empire spread to Britain, Romans adopted the Celtic festival of Samhain and incorporated its traditions with their own festivals of the season.

These were Feralia, a celebration of the dead and Pomoro, a harvest festival.

The symbol of Pomoro was the apple and on this night unmarried people would gather to find out who was next to be married. Apples were placed in a bucket of water or hung from strings and there was a race to bite the apple. The winner would be the next to marry.

This tradition has developed over the years and it is believed that if an unmarried woman peels an apple in front of a mirror at midnight on Hallowe'en she will see a reflection of her future husband.