Halloween Superstitions and Traditions!

Halloween may seem like it’s all about costumes and trick or treating. This holiday has some history; it became popular in the early 1900s with roots in pagan beliefs. About 2,000 years ago, Halloween marked the Celtic New Year, originally called Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic. With Halloween comes superstitions and traditions for everyone, here’s a list to name a few!

Everyone knows blacks are seen as bad luck! The black cat’s bad reputation comes from the Dark Ages when witch hunts were common. Elderly, solitary women were often accused of witchcraft, and their pet cats were said to be their demonic animals that had been given to them by the devil. Another “myth” told that Satan himself turned himself into a cat when communicating with witches.

Jack-o’-lanterns are a tradition most kids have done at some point in their time. Celtic folklore tells the tale of a farmer named Jack who tricked the devil, but his trickery resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell after he died. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed him from hell. Jack, the story goes, used the lantern to guide his lost soul; as such, the Celts believed that placing Jack-o’-lanterns outside would help guide lost spirits home when they wander the streets on Halloween. Since turnips were hard to come by in the states during the time, pumpkins were used as a substitute and just have stuck around since!

The stereotypical idea of the ugly witch with a pointy black hat comes from a pagan goddess known as “the crone,” who was actually honored during Samhain. The crone was also known as “the old one” and the “Earth mother,” who symbolized wisdom, change, and the turning of the seasons. 

In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest and that the ghosts could mingle with the living. The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human forms, such as a beggar, and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted.

Did you know bobbing for apples has meaning to it? The apple was viewed as a sacred fruit that could be used to predict the future. Bobbing for apples is a traditional game used for fortune-telling on Halloween night. It was believed that the first person to pluck an apple from the water-filled bucket without using their hands would be the first to marry.

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