Each year children and adults alike celebrate Halloween. I remember the first year we experienced the paranormal, I was desperately trying to pull myself together when Halloween arrived. The last thing I needed was a constant reminder. Children dressed as ghouls and witches, houses decorated with fake cobwebs, chocolate eyeballs looking out at me from supermarket shelves, and horror movies on TV. I was living a horror movie and wished it would all go away.
Boundaries between the living and the dead
Now I am much more relaxed about it. Thankfully we do not experience any more activity on Halloween than any other day. I know it’s an event that people like to celebrate mostly because it’s harmless fun. So where did Halloween come from? It’s birthplace originated in Ireland and the name is a shortened version of the name All Hallows’ Evening. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life. So if you find Halloween interesting read ahead and impress your friends with these Halloween facts.
The festival frequently involved bonfires, which were lit to ensure the sun would return after a long hard Winter. Farmers would throw cattle bones into the fires, hence ‘bone fire’ became ‘bonfire’. It is believed the fires attracted insects to the area which in turn attracted bats. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween. Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.
Part of the history of Halloween is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. The Celts believed that disguising themselves as ghouls and spooks would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain
The first Jack-O-Lanterns were actually made from turnip. The above image on the left is a traditional Irish carved Jack-O-Lantern from the early twentieth century. The other picture is a carving of a Cornish Jack-O-Lantern. According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.One thing is certain, they are a lot creepier than their current day pumpkin counterparts!
The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” Wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night. According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
Over to you. Have you ever experienced any unusual goings on during Halloween? What’s your favourite thing to do? Please be sure to follow my blog for lots more interesting features on the paranormal. Happy Halloween!