Halloween (historical) Facts

In the spirit of Halloween here are some fun facts on Halloween’s origins:

  • Halloween was originally a Celtic holiday celebrated on October 31.
  • Jack-o-lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
  • It is believed that the Irish began the tradition of Trick or Treating. In preparation for All Hallow’s Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • A pumpkin is a berry in the cucurbitaceae family, which also includes melons, cucumbers, squash and gourds. All these plants are native to the Americas. (so this last on isn’t technically historical but it’s cool!  And it does give you an idea of when pumpkins were introduced to Halloween.)
  • halloween-jackolantern-1

    Happy Halloween from the Damsels

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2 Responses to Halloween (historical) Facts

  1. Emilie says:

    Madeleine L’Engle’s “An Acceptable Time” got me interested in Samhain as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I ended up studying in Ireland for a summer…:)

  2. Wow, that’s amazing. So, Jack O Lanterns were introduced after immigrating to America? Do you have access to any dates? (My juvenile novel involves an Irish American family in the early 1900s. I’m wondering if they would be aware of the history of this version of the holiday.

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