Whether you partake in the spooky celebrations or not, Halloween is a fascinating time of year — and much of its most iconic traditions are deeply rooted in history, dating all the way back to ancient Ireland.
Ever wondered why Jack o‘ lanterns exist? Or why people eat (and bob for) apples in October? Why black cats are so mysterious?
Keep scrolling to learn 16 unusual things you probably didn’t know about Halloween.
The name „Halloween“ is an ultra-condensed version of „All Hallow’s Eve.“
According to Merriam-Webster, the name „Halloween“ originally comes from All Hallow’s Eve — the second night of a festival called Samhain, dating back to the pagans in Ireland.
„Hallow“ comes from an Old English adjective that means „holy,“ and „eve“ refers to the nighttime setting. All Hallow’s Eve was also referred to as All Hallow’s Even — which was shortened to „Hallow-e’en“ by the 16th century.
We eventually dropped the apostrophe and dash in the 18th century, and the rest is history.
A 2,000-year-old Celtic festival — called Samhain — is the origin of Halloween, and Wiccans still celebrate it today.
The Celts were pagans who lived in what is now Ireland, and they celebrated the new year on November 1. Their festival, Samhain (pronounced „sow-in“), marked the end of fall’s harvest and ushered in winter — a season that signified death and darkness for the Celts.
They believed that on the night before the shift, October 31 — called All Hallow’s Eve — the worlds of the living and the dead intersected. The ghosts roaming Earth were thought to help predict the future, so the Celts welcomed them with sacrificial bonfires and by dressing in costumes of animal heads and skins.
Modern-day Wiccans and neopagans celebrate a similar form of Samhain, and it is considered their most important festival of the year.
If it weren’t for the wave of immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, we probably wouldn’t have Halloween in America.
By the middle of the 19th century, some pockets in America celebrated a mild form of Halloween — including telling ghost stories, causing mischief, and just generally acknowledging autumn.
But Ireland’s devastating Potato Famine that started in 1845 caused mass immigration — more than 1.5 million Irish people fled to America during that time. With them, they brought their long-held Halloween traditions, and the soon-to-be holiday caught on quickly, spreading nation-wide.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider