Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The origins of Halloween are not nearly as gruesome or frightening as the movies would have you think. Below, a little trivia for Samhain lovers.
Halloween. A contraction of the title of the feast: All Hallow's Evening. The holy day was a early Church move to help assimilate the new converts. The ancient Night of the Dead honored deceased loved ones, but was rife with supersition about spirits and demons. Combined with the Celt's Samhain (sam-ween) to become Hallow's E'ven, then Halloween.
Jack o' lanterns. Carved out pumpkins with lights are a tribute to a myth about lazy Jack who lost a deal with the devil. Sentenced to walk the darkness he was given nothing to light his way but a coal from hell stuck in a gourd. His full title: Jack of the Lantern.
Candy. The undisputed best part of Halloween, the treats of trick or treat night were not always so sweet. Originally, the Celts believed the Night of the Dead was not complete without sacrificies of the harvest--fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and herbs. Later, gifts of small cakes were left out on doorsteps. Called mumming, the little offerings were said to appease the witches, fairies and demons who wandered about with the souls of the deceased.
Source: Library of Congress, Catholic Update, Britannica.com