As the days grow shorter and the nights chillier, we’re swiftly approaching that wonderful time when fantastically ghoulish pumpkins grace every doorstep and kids don their best trick-or-treat outfits. Yes, Halloween is just around the corner!
But how much do you know about this ancient celebration? Grab your torches and muster your courage as we embark on a fascinating journey to unearth the mysteries of Halloween.
1. It Was Originally a Celtic Celebration
Before Halloween became the sweet-gathering festival that we know and love today, it had its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’). Celebrated in Ireland and Northern France, Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. The Celts believed that on the 31st of October, the boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred and ghosts of the deceased returned to earth.
2. The Original Jack O’Lanterns Weren’t Pumpkins
Nothing signals that it’s spooky season more than a carved pumpkin. But did you know that in the UK turnips and beetroot were the first vegetables to be carved? These were placed into doorways and windows to ward off spirits. The switch to pumpkins happened when the tradition made its way to America, where pumpkins are plentiful and easier to carve.
3. A Game of Future Predictions and Mischief
Many of the fun Halloween traditions we love today started life in the UK. Apple bobbing, for example, originated from a Roman Festival honouring Pomana, a goddess of fruit trees. It was believed that the first person to pluck an apple from the water would be the next to get married.
Trick or Treating Through the Ages
The custom of dressing up and going from door to door dates back to medieval Britain. It was originally known as ‘souling’ where children would walk around the streets, singing and praying for the souls of the dead in exchange for cakes and other sweet treats. The tradition evolved over time and eventually became the trick-or-treating we know today.
Bats: What’s the Connection With Halloween?
From hanging bat decorations to bat-themed cake toppers, these furry little mammals are a common sight during Halloween. But why? Well, during Samhain celebrations, huge bonfires were lit, which attracted insects. The insects, in turn, attracted bats and the link was formed.
6. The Destination to Be For Halloween
Halloween is celebrated the world over. However, the small town of Derry in Northern Ireland is well-known for Halloween. Every year, the people of Derry host one of the world’s largest Halloween festivals, drawing thousands of visitors from around the world.
7. Black Cats and Witchcraft
In medieval Britain, it was believed that witches could transform themselves into black cats so they could roam around unnoticed. Unfortunately, this also made people believe that even the cutest black cats were bad luck. Today, while black cats are still associated with witches and Halloween, they are seen as symbols of mystery rather than a bad omen.
Fun Facts Promote Curiosity and Foster a Deeper Understanding
Halloween is so much more than fancy dress and sweet treats; it’s a festival with rich historical and cultural roots, especially here in the UK. Sharing these fun facts with your children will give them a deeper understanding of the holiday and encourage them to find out even more. Perhaps you could incorporate a mini history lesson in your Halloween preparations and celebrations to make learning more fun and festive.
Every Day is a Day For Learning!
Halloween offers an amazing opportunity for themed learning. At Tutor Doctor, we’re all about encouraging education that extends beyond the classroom and feeding curious minds with amazing facts.
If you’re looking to nurture your child’s academic growth, we’re always here to help. Our personalised tutoring services are tailored to suit every child, ensuring they shine bright, no matter what the season. Find your local tutor
and get started on a spooktacular learning journey with us today.