Happy Halloween!Halloween is here once more, and the weather in my part of the world is cold and breezy (thank you, Superstorm Sandy). Tonight the little ghouls and goblins (and princesses and rock stars and…) will dress up in their costumes, argue with their parents about whether they really need to wear a coat, and then swarm neighborhoods to ring doorbells and compare the candy they receive. Thinking about this, my wonderings took a slight turn into the realm of other Halloween traditions. Here’s a little information about this last day in October and the traditions that go with it.
Did you know that the carved pumpkins affectionately called jack o’lanterns are actually a tradition that began in Ireland? There is one major difference between the carved pumpkins so popular in America and the jack o’lanterns of Irish history. Originally, jack o’lanterns were carved from turnips and beets, not pumpkins.
Trick or Treating
Trick or treating is a popular Halloween tradition all over the United States. I’ve several theories on the origins of this tradition, but there doesn’t appear to be a definite historical link to any of these traditions. So where did modern trick or treating come from? The best guess appears to be that Irish immigrants brought the tradition with them in the 1800s. By the 1940s, dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating had become a well-established tradition in the United States.
Ghosts and Demons
Halloween dates back over 2,000 years, although for the Celtic peoples who originated the celebration of the day it was Samhain’s eve. They believed that on this day faeries, demons, and other paranormal creatures roamed the earth. Spirits on their way to the afterlife were also thought to walk the earth on Halloween.
My childhood Halloween traditions involved costumes and trick or treating, jack o’lanterns and haunted houses. But my favorite tradition was the watching of the Halloween specials on TV. All the kids I knew loved “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure” as much as I did. Those familiar cartoons were one of the highlights of the season.
Tell me, what are some of your favorite Halloween memories? What traditions do you have now?