Are you one of those Halloween buffs who goes all out every year to have a crazy party and decorations complete with ghoulish food and friends? Well, you're not alone! According to statistics, Halloween is the second largest holiday celebration in the United States with Christmas being the first!
That seems a bit strange to me. I would guess Valentines Day or New Years' Eve to be the second largest holiday celebration, but hey, what do I know? (Apparently not much when it comes to Halloween!)
I was always taught that Halloween was a holiday from the underworld. But apparently there's more to it than that. I did some research and found that Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31 which is dedicated to remembering the dead including saints, martyrs and all the faithful departed. So, it's not all bad. It's like anything....it depends on what you believe about the holiday. It supposedly began from a Gaelic festival called Samhain in which people celebrated the end of the harvest season. And western culture kind of twisted it into what it is today. (Wikipedia: Halloween). I prefer to think of it as a day to remember my loved ones who have passed on. Though I remember them all times, it's a day marked to observe what their lives meant to me. I also think of it as a harvest festival.
Here are some interesting facts about Halloween:
-Halloween celebrates the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve followed by All Saints Day on Nov. 1. It's all in the attitude. What does Halloween mean to you?
-In Great Britain, jack-o-lanterns were traditionally made from turnips. We Americans turned that over on its head (ha!) and started the pumpkin craze!
-Trick or treating started in 19th century Scotland and Ireland. Children went door to door praying for souls or performing for money or cakes. Similarly, in medieval times, beggars went door to door praying for souls in exchange for food. So next time you say trick or treat, you know where the concept came from!
-Halloween is a 6 billion dollar industry! Like I mentioned above, it's the second most practiced holiday in the U.S. (Things that make you go hmmmm......)
-Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween! Yeah...this fact pretty much speaks (or screams) for itself!
-50 % of kids prefer to receive chocolate for Halloween. (I'm right with them! Pleeeaase hand over the heath bars....:))
-The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven in 1993. It weighed 836 lbs! I wonder how many pies could come out of that monster!
-According to Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who tricked the devil several times and was forbidden entrance into Heaven and Hell. So now he wanders the earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths. (Not a namesake I'd want to keep!!)
-Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926 as a result of appendicitis brought on by three punches to the stomach. Yeesh! What a time to die!
-Dressing up as ghouls or spirits originated from the Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves so that spirits roaming the streets wouldn't recognize them! I guess that could technically make sense...
-The Village Halloween Parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States with 50,000 participants and over 2 million spectators. Huh...this is the first I've heard about this parade!
-Owls signify Halloween. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches. When an owl was heard hooting, it was believed that someone was about to die. (Yikes! That puts a clink into taking walks at night!)
Happy Halloween everyone!
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