Halloween is probably the spookiest night of the year and some say that on this night, “All Hallow’s Eve”, ghosts and ghouls come out to play and wander aimlessly through the night. Others may say that their children can wander the streets trick-or-treating and getting into mischief!
But whichever your view, how much do you really know about Halloween and the humble pumpkin! It is much more than just costumes, sweets, scary stories and pumpkin pie, it does in fact have a very interesting history. Surprisingly, Halloween did not begin in America.
Halloween originates from a Celtic tradition called Samhein, a festival marking the end of the Celtic year. They believed it was the time the spirits could enter our world and so would put out treats and food to calm them.
Trick-or-Treating has existed since the medieval times and it was known as ‘guising’ (disguising). Poor children and adults went out in costumes begging for food or money in exchange for songs or prayers.
Pumpkin carving was actually brought to America by the Irish who were trying to escape the great potato famine. They used to carve turnips for their festival but they soon found that pumpkins were easier to carve.
Did you know that their are over 50 types of pumpkin! They come in a range of different colours including, red, white, green and even blue, but I prefer the more traditional orange ones.
Apple bobbing is also a traditional Halloween game, but did you know that this game was originally a marriage game! Legend has it that the first person to pluck an apple from the water without using their hands would be the first to marry. Agatha Christie’s novel ‘Halloween Party’ is about a girl who is drowned in an apple bobbing competition, so be careful ladies!!
A common image portrayed at Halloween is that of a full moon, with maybe a a witch flying across it. In fact, the next full moon to fall on October the 21st won’t occur until 2020 and the last full moon on All Hallow’s Eve was back i n 2001.
A pumpkin is a squash and comes from the same family as the cucumber. 90% of a pumpkin is water so if your pumpkin shrivels up simply put in water overnight to re-hydrate it. Remember to take the candle out.
The word ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, which actually means large melon. And the average pumpkin contains at least 500 seeds which are delicious by the way, roasted.
The world comprises of seven continents and pumpkins are grown on six of these, the seventh being the antarctic, a bit to cold their!! But they do grow pumpkins in Alaska.
Orange and black are the colours of Halloween because orange is associated with the autumn harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
Did you know that their is actually a phobia associated with Halloween, it is called Samheinphobia, yes that is true!
On October 31st children and adults will be celebrating one of the most popular festivals of all time – Halloween. It has become a firm fixture in our calender’s, a time for dressing up and a time for scary stories. Love it or loathe it, it is here to stay, so enjoy your ‘All Hallows Eve’ and watch out watch out their will be ghosts about!