I don’t really like Halloween much. I think it’s an Americanised excuse for children to go around taking sweets from other people. So, here’s a list of things that I know about Halloween.
- The name “Halloween” comes from the name “All Hallows Eve” which is the day before a Christian holiday. Over the years, it kind of got mushed together to become Hallowe’en, then the apostrophe was dropped. People are lazy.
- The tradition of pumpkin carving started with the Celts, or ancient Irish peoples, who carved turnips into the shape of a human head so that evil spirits would accept that instead of eating their souls. Genius. It became pumpkin carving when they were brought over from America, and the Celts found that they were much easier to carve than turnips.
- Halloween is celebrated on the 31st October as that is the date of a Celtic festival, Samhain. This was when the “veil between the worlds” was believed to be thinnest, and spirits could walk the earth. If anything strange happened on Samhain, it was attributed to an evil spirit who was tormenting your family. If you were a practical joker, that was the night to do your thing. The spirits helped the Druids to predict what the coming year would be like, and if the crops would grow. There are many Celtic folklore stories about warriors accidentally wandering into the spirit world, and coming back to find that time passes at different rates and all of their family is dead.
I knew all that. I didn’t google anything. Honest.
Unrelatedly, I have discovered links. YES