Happy Halloween! 19 October 2010Posted by Ryszard Oślizło in Great Britain, History, Holidays, UK, USA.
Tags: customs, England, Great Britain, Halloween, History, Holidays, Ireland, Scotland, Symbols, UK, USA, your turn
DID YOU KNOW?
Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31 and the day is full of scary and creepy Halloween characters: witches on brooms, swooping bats, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses and more.
The history of Halloween is not clear, but it most probably dates back to 700 B.C. to the Celts from northern England, Ireland and Scotland. November 1 was the first day of their new year and the end of the harvest season. It was also thought to be a day of the dead.
Orange and black are two Halloween colors because the former is associated with harvests and the latter with death.
To drive away the spirits and to tame the dead, on October 31 the Celts dressed in costumes, lit bonfires, and offered food and drink to masked celebrants.
Christians made November 1 All Saints’ Day (or All Hallow Day) and the night before was called “All Hallow Eve” which was later shortened to Halloween.
Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions. In the 19th century, Halloween gradually became less religious and more secular community-based children’s holiday.
The two best known Halloween traditions are trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns. They were brought to America in the 1840s by the Irish escaping the Great Potato Famine.
On Halloween, Irish peasants begged the rich for food and they were given cookies, candies, and fruit. Those who refused were “tricked” somehow by the poor peasants.
Jack-o-lanterns go back to an old Irish story about a man called Stingy Jack. He wasn’t allowed to enter Heaven so he wandered the world and lit his way with a burning coal in a hollowed out turnip. In fact, the first jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips but when the Irish came to America pumpkin carving became much more popular.
See how to make your own
Interested in more fascinating Halloween facts? Check out the History.com website:
1. Go to the History.com website where you will learn lots of facts about pumpkins. Then decide which of the following 7 statements are true and which are false and paste your answers here: CLICK AND PASTE YOUR ANSWERS! Don’t forget to correct the false answers! Only one person will get the points for the task!
1. Pumpkins originated in South America.
2. Pumpkin has no fat.
3. Each pumpkin has lots of protein.
4. In 19th century people believed that pumpkins could cure freckles.
5. There is the World “Punkin Chunkin” Championship every year in Delaware.
6. Connecticut field pumpkin can’t be used to make jack-o-lanterns.
7. Someone may steal your pumpkin from your porch on October 31.
2. Go to the History.com website where you will listen about vampires. Then decide which of the following 6 statements are true and which are false and paste your answers here: CLICK AND PASTE YOUR ANSWERS! Don’t forget to correct the false answers! Only one person will get the points for the task!
1. Belief in vampires comes from bats.
2. Vampires were first linked to bats in 16th century.
3. The explorers in Central America said they had been bitten by vampires.
4. Europeans believed that some dead people could come back as vampires.
5. Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” was first published in February 1896.
6. Dracula’s victims were innocent women.