Customs of Halloween

History of Halloween

Origin of Halloween

Myths, Monsters & Devils

Customs of Halloween


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Customs of Halloween

Halloween customs are somewhere rooted with the entire belief of the festival. The original belief goes with ancestral worship and New Year. However, over the period of time, there grew many interesting customs that made the festival even more lively and enjoyable. Most myths and practices have some roots in regional culture and origin of the custom. Following are some of the popular Halloween customs,

  • Many Halloween customs are associated with apples. A fruits linked with female goddesses, symbolizing eternality, renaissance, and power. A common myth is that when you cut an apple through its equator, it opens up a pointed star at center of each hemisphere, a pentagram -- a symbol of female deity worshipped by Celts, Egyptians and more.
  • The custom of trick-or-treating is believed to have origin in a European custom known as souling. Europeans had a tradition of going from home to home, asking for soul cakes, or currant buns. In return, they would pray for the souls of the offerer’s relatives.
  • In Western Brittany, Samhain is proclaimed with the baking of kornigou, cakes baked in the shape of antlers to honour the god of winter
  • Jack-o'-lantern: The term has an Irish origin via. a folk tale in 18th century. An Irishman, Jack tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree. It is said that he then cut a cross along the tree trunk. It led to caging the devil in the tree branches. After Jack died, he was denied access to heaven due to his cruel conduct. The Devil did not let him enter hell and hence, Jack was stuck. Finally, the devil took pity on him and allowed him to light a piece of coal to light his path as he walked. Jack put the lighted coal inside the hollowed turnip he was eating. Even today, people carve a pumpkin into a scary or comical face and place it on the home's doorstep or on windows
  • As a custom, unmarried people were made to try to take a bite of apple from pail of water with a floating apple. The first person to do so was believed to be the next to marry.
  • It was a myth that by peeling an apple in front of a candle-lit mirror, one could see the image of one’s future spouse.
  • A long unbroken apple peel was said to predict your life years. The longer the apple peel, the longer your lived.
  • In the Isle of Man, where Halloween is known as Hop-tu-Naa there is a tradition of children carrying turnips instead of pumpkin. They also sing a Halloween song called Jinnie the Witch.
  • The traditional colors of Halloween are black and orange. Pumpkins, turnips and scarecrows are known as the symbols of Halloween
  • Masks and costumes, a part of Halloween tradition is believed to be a part of Celtic traditions. It is believed that the person wearing the mask is transformed and takes on temporarily the qualities of the god or demon represented by the mask

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