So, of course I have to keep up with the halloween fever! I'll participate for the second year in a row on the Coffin Hop, where 100+ blogs unite to tell horrific stories, interview writers, give tons of free stuff, and just celebrate All Hallows Eve with the right attitude. Click on the picture if you want to host the party or if you simply want to visit as many blogs as you can and have a god time winning cool stuff. I will have a contest, but I'm still working on the details, so keep coming back to know more!
Now, in the spirit of my recurrent series "Friday Fun", I decided to share with you a few Halloween trivia facts. Hope you like it!
- Halloween by colors. There are many colors associated to Halloween. Of course there's the classic orange, long associated to the harvest, and black, representing death, the unknown, and plain evil. But then, you can also see purple in many of the seasonal decorations, a color considered to represent mysticism and the paranormal; red which represents blood, fire, and demons; green is associated to goblins, monsters, and zombies; and white reflects ghosts, mummies, and the moon.
- Carving into history. Jack o'Lanterns are original from Ireland in the myth of Singy Jack who, after being rejected by heaven and hell upon his death, is forced to roam the darkness seeking a place to rest his soul. He then carved out a turnip and, filling it out with coal, used it to light his way. It was only after the first Irish immigrants arrived to America with their traditions, that turnips were replaced by pumpkins.
- Trick or Treat? We all know Halloween, the holiday, was originally a Celtic tradition, but Trick-or-Treating is in fact, of Irish origin! It was during the Great Irish Potato Famine that peasants would beg for food from the wealthy. When those higher in the chain refused to play along, the beggars would play practical jokes on them. So came the custom of giving candy, cookies, or fruit.
- Coming to America. The Halloween festivity arrived to America with European immigrants, who celebrated the harvest by lighting bonfires, sharing ghost stories, singing, dancing, and telling fortunes.
- Back to the beginning. Just in case you are the only one who doesn't know (I'm thorough if anything at all)... Ancient Celts believed that spirits came back from 'the other side' on All Hallows Eve, the only day they could roam the world of the living. In order to protect themselves and avoid being recognized as humans, people began to wear demonic masks and costumes.
- An apple a day keeps spinsters away! Bobbing for apples is an ancient costume said to be of Roman origin, though some sources claim Celts were doing it before. What is clear is that it was used as a divination method for two important reasons: 1. Romans associated the apple tree to Pomona, a fertility goddess, and 2. Celts associated pentagrams to mystic rituals and fertility itself, so apple bobbing was a way to know who would marry next. (Because of the seeds that form a pentagram inside of it. I know you knew... just in the spirit of 'No child left behind.')
- Cat conflict. Black cats are a staple of superstition and long associated to witchcraft, though not always with a negative bend. Ancient Egyptians revered all cats, blacks in particular. But Hebrews and Babylonians considered cats to be similar to serpents, coiled near the hearth, and thus granting them a negative connotation. They were thought to be good familiars to witches because they can hardly be seen at night, when witches were said to conduct all their mischievousness.
- How old, you say? Halloween has been celebrated for over 6000 years in one way or another, under many different names, and by many different cultures. You could say our present celebration is being 6000 years in the making...
- Approval rate. I'd say it is high. Halloween is the second most successful commercial holiday, preceded only by Christmas.
- Commercial can be good. In 1950 in Philadelphia, a Sunday school decided that all the money collected during their treat-or-treating would be send to UNICEF. They sent a grand total of $17, which may not seem like much, but served as inspiration for the organization. Trick-or-Treat for Unicef was created and you can sign up! Just follow the link, sign up, and they'll send you uniquely decorated boxes along with materials explaining the program.