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Wednesday, 20 May 2015


In 609 Pope Boniface IV converted the Roman Pantheon into a Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs. By the 7th century the commemoration of martyrs for the faith had become widespread and as time went on these celebrations came to include not only the martyrs but all saints.

In 837 Pope Gregory IV established the first celebration of All Saints' Day on November 1st to honor the saints, choosing the first day of November to counter a Celtic festival of the dead, known as Samhain celebrated the night before. However the festival did not die out and in medieval Britain it became known as All Hallows (All Saints) Eve, and later its Scottish equivalent Halloween became more widely used.

The Gaelic festival of Samhain means "summer's end" in Gaelic.

Hallow, in Old English, means "holy" or "sacred." Therefore, "Hallows' Eve," or "Halloween" simply means "the evening of holy persons" and refers to the evening before All Saints Day.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it should be spelled 'Hallow-e'en' as the name is a contraction of 'All-Hallow-even'.

The tradition of dressing up on Halloween originates from the Celts, who were known to wear costumes and masks to these festivals in an attempt to appease evil spirits, thought to bring problems to the living on Halloween.

To try and frighten off any superstitions, the Europeans began making lanterns from carved vegetables (predominantly turnips), lit by a candle inside. The "head" of turnips were used, with the belief that the head was the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and the knowledge.

The carving of pumpkins is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols today. However, it wasn't until 1866 that the pumpkin became associated with Halloween - a tradition originating from North America, where pumpkins were readily available and much larger, making them easier to carve.

Halloween was brought to the USA by the Irish but the associations the Americans have with it such as black cats and witchcraft come from Africa.

Candy pumpkins were placed on the seat of every U.S. Senator by the candy industry in 1985 in hopes of extending U.S. daylight saving time to cover Halloween.

Often used as symbols of bad luck, black cats grace many Halloween decorations. Many US animal shelters won't allow black cats to be adopted around Halloween, out of fear that they might be sacrificed or tortured during rituals.

Making Jack O'Lanterns are a big part of the Halloween spirit. The name "jack-o'-lantern" is of British origin and dates from the 17th century, when it literally meant "man with a lantern" (i.e., a night watchman).

Samhainophobia is an intense fear of Halloween that can cause panic attacks.

It is illegal to dress up like a priest for Halloween in Alabama

JesusWeen is the Christian answer to Halloween, where people give out Bibles and tracts instead of candy.

Sources, Daily Express

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