Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ten Little Known Facts about Halloween

I would like to introduce you to Ms. Kelly Rockey, a freelance writer from StarCostumes.com.  Ms. Rockey asked to write a guest blog on Hallowe'en Cerebrations and I am honored that she chose my blog to write on two things that are near and dear to my heart...Hallowe'en and trivia!
Ten Little Known Facts about Halloween

Every year we break out the costumes and the spooky decorations in October. We carve our pumpkins, we buy the candy. But how much about this frighteningly fun holiday do we really know? There are many fun and interesting facts about Halloween that most people aren’t aware of. Here are ten little known facts about Halloween.

1. The history of Halloween began in ancient times with the Celts living on the British Isles. The Pagan calendar had October 31st as the last day of the year called Samhain. Celtic priests honored their god of death, known as Samhain, on the night of the 31st. The Celtic people believed that the spirits of the dead rose on that night and so they wore costumes to scare them away.

2. After the Roman Empire gained control of the British Isles Samhain also became a harvest festival honoring the goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruits and gardens. Apples were considered sacred at this time and this is where the tradition of bobbing for apples comes from.

3. The colors black and orange are widely associated with Halloween. Orange represents the Fall harvest and black represents death.

4. After the rise of Christianity the first day of November was known as All Saints Day which was originally called All Hallows Day. That made October 31st All Hallows Eve. That is how Halloween got its name.

5. Trick or Treating is also credited to the Irish people. They would go door to door gathering food contributions for the Halloween feast held in town. If the people refused then the “trick or treaters” would play a practical joke on them.

6. Jack-o-lanterns began as a method to scare away ghosts. Many people believed the lights would frighten away spirits. Today 99% of America’s pumpkins are used for Jack-o-lanterns.

7. In modern times Halloween is the second most commercially popular holiday (Christmas is the first) Over 1.5 billon dollars is spent on costumes each year and more than 2.5 billion is spent on other Halloween paraphernalia.

8. In the United States the first citywide Halloween celebration was held in Anoka, Minnesota in 1921. It is believed that the reason the townspeople decided to put on this celebration was to divert its youngsters from committing Halloween pranks.

9. Of all the candy sold annually in America, 1/4 of it is sold during Halloween time. The number one candy choice for Halloween is Snickers. America spends 2 billion dollars a year on Halloween candy.

10. The current world record for the biggest pumpkin is 1446 lbs. (That’s a lot of pumpkin pie!) Growing large pumpkins is a serious hobby with prize money as much as $25,000 at some fall festivals.

This post was contributed by Kelly Rockey, who writes about costumes over at StarCostumes.com


Aelwyn said...

Some corrections:

1) Samhain isn't a God of any type....it's actually a Gaelic word meaning "summer's end". :D It was the time for the last slaughter of the summer and to cure the meat, and get ready for winter. Samhain was their "new year", and thought to be a time when the "veils" between this world and the next are thin, so the Celts (I use this term loosely) would carry jack-o-lanterns....carved of TURNIPS! That's right...no pumpkins out there for them to use...that's a North American tradition. :)

2) Rome didn't gain control of the British Isles (specifically, Ireland), until AFTER Rome was Catholic. So the Celts and Brits NEVER honoured Pomona. And the feast for Pomona (Demeter) was earlier in the year. The one near the end of October was Chalceia, to honour Athena and Hephaestus.

5) The Irish would put food outside as offerings to the Faeries. People would dress up and steal the food---this became what we know as trick or treating today.

Diane said...

love the trivia! great guest poster!!

The Captain said...

Guest writers and sponsors, wow. I very much enjoyed the Halloween facts from Kelly and Aelwyn.