The Bottom Line: Fun facts about Halloween!
The Full Story:
- Halloween marks the modern witches' New Year's Eve. It is a time spent celebrating death, fertility and renewal.
- Halloween is believed to be the time when the dead and other demonic creatures rise to walk the earth once more.
- "Hallow" is an old word meaning holy, whilst "e'en" is Scottish for evening.
- It is estimated that between the 15th to 18th centuries, approximately 2-million people were executed for witchcraft, 80% of this number were women.
- The ancient Celtic fire festival called "Samhain" (pronounced "sow-in") is the origin of modern Halloween. This festival was the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, marking the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season.
- The tradition of witches riding their brooms isn't just because they were the handiest flight objects available. The broomstick is symbolic of the magical powers of females, because it is employed in the cleansing of ritual places.
- The celebration of Halloween started in the United States as an autumn harvest festival, not as a religious holiday. In pioneer days, some Americans celebrated Halloween with com-popping parties, taffy pulls and hayrides.
- In the late nineteenth century, with the large influx of Irish immigrants into the U.S., Halloween became associated with ghosts, goblins and witches.
- Jack-o-lanterns are an Irish tradition. In Ireland, oversized rutabagas, turnips and potatoes were hollowed-out, carved into faces and illuminated with candles to be used as lanterns during Halloween celebrations.
- The word “witch” comes from the Old Saxon word “wica”, meaning “wise one.” The earliest witches were respected dealers in charms and medicinal herbs and tellers of fortunes.
- The pumpkin originated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago. It is one of America’s oldest known vegetables. Pumpkins generally weigh from 15-to-30 pounds, although some weigh as much as 200 pounds. The majority of pumpkins are orange, but they also can be white or yellow. They are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium, and their seeds provide protein and iron.
- According to legend, the jack-o’-lantern began with a fellow named Jack, who was too stingy to be allowed into Heaven and too mischievous to join the Devil in hell. As consolation, the Devil threw Jack a lighted coal, which Jack placed inside a turnip he was eating. It is said that Jack continues to use the coal to light his path as he searches for a final resting place.
- According to CandyUSA.com, 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween trick-or-treat bags. What are their faves? CandyUSA.com reports that parents’ favorite treats to sneak from their kids’ trick-or-treat bags are snack-size chocolate bars (70% sneak these), candy-coated chocolate pieces (40%), caramels (37%) and gum (26%). Parents least favorite goodie to take from their kids’ trick-or-treat bags? Licorice (18%).