VARIETY - BLOGHALLOWE'EN...31st October - 29/09/2014
Whatever the superstitions of Hallowe'en are, it is lovely to see all the carved and lit pumpkin lanterns in windows and doorways on our dark nights. Hallowe'en has been big commercially in the USA for many years but here in the UK we seem to be catching up...we've already spotted witches hats, face masks, costumes, gruesome fingers, decorations and scary looking lollipops and sweets. It might be as well to stock up with a few sweets just in case someone knocks on your door trick or treating!
Here's a few facts about Hallowe'en :-
1. The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time.
2. According to Guinness World Records, the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 2,032 lbs and was grown in California, USA.
3. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
4. Halloween has variously been called All Hallows’ Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, Snap-Apple Night, Samhain and Summer’s End.
5. Halloween was influenced by the ancient Roman festival Pomona, which celebrated the harvest goddess of the same name. Many Halloween customs and games that feature apples (such as bobbing for apples) and nuts date from this time. In fact, in the past, Halloween has been called San-Apple Night and Nutcrack Night.
6. It is said young girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween. Other girls believed they would see their boyfriend’s faces if they looked into mirrors while walking downstairs at midnight on Halloween.
7. Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was one of the most famous and mysterious magicians who ever lived. Strangely enough, he died in 1926 on Halloween night as a result of appendicitis brought on by three stomach punches.
8. According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
9. Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.
10. Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan or the “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts” during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.
11. The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators.
12. In many countries, such as France and Australia, Halloween is seen as an unwanted and overly commercial American influence.
13. Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the Roman harvest festival that honored Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees. Young unmarried people would bob for apples floating in water or hanging from a string, and the first to bite into the apple would be the next one allowed to marry.
and a rather silly poem :-
I'm a ghost who got stuck in the laundry,
A ghost who they thought was a sheet.
I sloshed through a "delicates" cycle,
And dried at a medium heat.
I bathed with a fluffy red sweater,
A colour that ran like thin ink.
And now that the turmoil is over,
I'm a terribly unspooky pink!