Updated: Aug 16
Happy Halloween to everyone!!! Welcome to the very last Blogtober post. I had such an amazing time doing this challenge. I will admit, it was hard finding a balance between writing every day and my day to day tasks and appointments. But I had a good time and I sure learned some valuable lessons that I will use to improve my blog. I also wanted to thank all of you who read my posts and engaged with me hero ion my blog and on social media. Your support means the world to me and I really appreciate it.
For today's post I wanted to end on the best possible way. I love Halloween very much and it is one of my favourite holidays to celebrate. But I also know that it was not always celebrated with candy and silly costumes. Halloween is not a commercial holiday just to get people to spend money. So I wanted to do some research on what the true origins of this holiday are so we could all learn a little bit more about one of the most celebrated nights of the year.
The Truth About Halloween
The earliest known root of Halloween is linked to the Samhain, a Celtic festival where the end of summer was celebrated. The Celts welcomed the new year on November 1st so on October 31st they will celebrate the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. Celts believed that on this night, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
By 43 A.D the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of the Celtic territory, They ruled Celtic lands for 400 years. In this time they took the festival of Samhain and combined it with their own festivals: Feralia (a day to commemorate the passing of the dead ) and Pomona (a day to honor the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.)
By the IX century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands replacing their traditions and festivities. The church replaced this celebrations of the dead with its own church-sanctioned holidays like All Souls Day.
In colonial New England, celebrating Halloween wasn't as popular as in the South, mainly because of the rigid Protestant belief systems. Colonial Halloween festivities were different from the original Celtic festivities. American celebrations were public events focused on celebrating the harvest. Communities would come together to share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance, sing, and create harmless trouble.
But Halloween was still not celebrated everywhere in the country. It wasn't until the second half of the nineteenth century, when millions of Irish and Scottish immigrants came to the country, that the celebration of Halloween was popularized nationally.
Halloween became all about community and neighborly get-togethers, in part thanks to the encouragement of the newspapers and community leaders to disassociate anything frightening or grotesque from Halloween celebrations, therefore losing all its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.
Popular symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For example, the jack-o'-lantern, is associated with a popular Irish-Christian folktale about a "soul who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell." Pumpkin carving, was adapted from Irish and Scottish traditions where a turnip was carved on Halloween. Immigrants that came to North America started using native pumpkins because they were much softer and larger – making it easier to carve than turnips.
Interesting Facts About Halloween
1- Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
2- Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
3- Harry Houdini (1874-1926) one of the most famous and mysterious magician died in 1926 on Halloween night.
4- The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.
5- Boston, Massachusetts, holds the record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at once (30,128).
6- Trick-or treating became popular in the US in the 1930’s.
7- More than twice as much chocolate is sold for Halloween as for Valentine's Day
8- About 99% of all pumpkins sold are used as Jack 'O Lanterns for Halloween.
9- According to Hallmark, Halloween is the sixth most popular card-giving holiday.
10-“Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1st), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.
That is all for this post. I hope you really enjoyed it and learned something new about the origins of Halloween and all the mystery behind this popular celebration. With this post, I'm saying goodbye to Blogtober 2018.
Thank you guys, for reading this post and all the other Blogtober posts. Have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween. I'll catch you soon on another post.
Until next time.
But I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner.