Halloween is more than just a day where you can scare people and get loads of candy. It started off as a Celtic festival in Wales, Scotland and Ireland marking the end of summer and the beginning of a long winter.
What did they do during All Hallow’s Eve?
During the 1500s – 1800s, it was simply to burn the inedible parts of wheat, known as chaff, which was leftover from the harvest.
But over time, the bonfires were seen as guiding Christian souls in what is known as a purgatory, which is where the soul is cleansed of all sins before going to heaven. The Church also rang bells on Halloween which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I tried multiple times to stop without success.
The emigration to America
In 1845, there is a large potato famine in Ireland, forcing one million people to move to the United States, taking their traditions with them. Shortly afterwards, the earliest reference to Halloween appeared in a ladies magazine who described it as an English holiday.
At first, the Halloween traditions in the States mixed farm games and harvest traditions. The apples, which were very popular with people who played British fortune-telling games, was made into cider and served with doughnuts.
Corn became a very important part of Halloween in America. This was because corn was a huge part of American industry.
By the 20th century, scarecrows were common decorations.
Which vegetable would be used to celebrate Halloween?
Look at our logo below and you’ll find the answer:
Yes, that’s right: the humble pumpkin. They had carved these into shape in America instead of turnips, which people in the UK would have carved. Pumpkins were an American fruit, after all.
How did the Jack-o-lantern get it’s name?
The Jack-o-lantern got it’s name from a tale about a blacksmith, a person who carves metal, called Jack, who outsmarts the devil and wanders around the earth undead. This also gave Halloween it’s unique black and orange colour scheme.
Trick-or-treating originated from America in the 1920s.