Do you have Samhainophobia? Do you know how to meet a witch on Halloween night? Do you know why the colours orange and black signify the holiday of Halloween? These are just some of the crazy facts and scarcely known trivia that hover around Halloween. This is the haunting time of year, the time we associate with the harvest and death. Traditionally it has been a time to celebrate the dead and the harvest and for people to protect themselves from the dead who have crossed over into this world. These days Halloween is a day of fancy dress, parties, trick-or-treating, and decorating one’s house to look scary. However, let’s take a look at some of the little-known facts because they are very intriguing in their own right.
First of all, this holiday is just loaded with superstitions. For instance, you had better not squash a spider on Halloween because if you see one it is really the spirit of a loved one there to watch over you. Have you ever wanted to meet a witch? Well, on Halloween night put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards and you just might. You can also ring a bell to scare away evil spirits. And of course, watch out for the white cat and don’t let it cross your path because that is bad luck. However, did you know that in the United States it is the black cat that is considered unlucky?
Did you know that if you have a deathly fear of Halloween you are said to have Samhainophobia? Samhain is one of the various alternative names for Halloween and others include Hallowtide, All Hallows Eve, the Feast of the Dead, and the Day of the Dead. The holiday is celebrated in many countries around the world, but our modern day celebration is based on ancient Celtic celebrations. In Welsh Halloween in Nos Calan Gaeaf and in English the correct spelling is actually Hallowe’en, though it is rarely spelled this way.
What about the Jack O’ Lantern? Well, this is a long-standing tradition of Halloween. The Jack O’ Lantern is carved out of a pumpkin these days, but did you know that it was traditionally carved out of a turnip in centuries gone by? These carved turnips and pumpkins are lit up with a candle, which is believed to keep evil spirits at bay. As for pumpkins, a whopping 99% of annual pumpkin sales are due to people buying pumpkins to be carved into Halloween jack O’ Lanterns. There are records regarding pumpkins and Jack O’ Lanterns, too. For instance, the record for the fastest carving of a pumpkin is held by Jerry Ayers from Baltimore, Ohio, who carved a pumpkin in a mere 37 seconds! How about this record? Port Elgin, Ontario in Canada holds the record for the largest pumpkin ever produced as it weighed in at 1446 pounds.
What about the colours for Halloween? Well orange and black are the traditional colours and they have meaning. Orange represents the harvest and black represents death and darkness. Also, did you know that there is no word in the dictionary that rhymes with orange? The locale of Spalding in Britain considers itself to be the pumpkin capital of Britain because David Bowman grows an incredible two million pumpkins annually.
All of these facts are interesting and amazing, but maybe best of all is that the modern tradition of Halloween and trick-or-treating has its roots in ancient Celtic tradition. In Ireland it was common for people to go door-to-door to ask for food contributions to the community feast. In Scotland children who went door-to-door to ask for treats had to perform a song or poem in order to get some. There are many variations, but to be sure the holiday has many fun facts that remain unknown to the masses. Now that you know some of these fascinating tidbits of information you can share them with family and friends, who will be very glad you did.