When it comes to the most mysterious holidays, first of all we remember Halloween, which is about to come. The eve of All Saints Day, celebrated on the night of October 31 to November 1, has firmly entered the everyday life of the English-speaking countries. However, for many other countries it can still be called a novelty — original, attractive and at the same time incomprehensible. Perhaps that is why Halloween is surrounded by a halo of various mysteries, hoaxes, stories and myths. We will tell you about some of them now.
Halloween originates from a Celtic pagan celebration called Samhain. The celebration was held in honor of the harvest, which symbolized the beginning and end of the year. The Celts believed that the time from October 31 to November 1 is sacred. If people died that night, it means that they violated strict prohibitions, which the ancient Celts had a lot of.
At the same time, Samhain was considered a holiday to commemorate the dead. The Celts thought that on the first November night, the souls of the dead visited their relatives on earth, and that with them the world of the living was visited by evil spirits. To prevent evil spirits from harming anyone, people dressed up in animal skins or made fires near houses. Later, Samhain traditions were combined with the European holiday «All-Hallows-Even (ing)», from which the modern name Halloween comes.
Halloween is the most expensive holiday in the world after Christmas. Every year, people around the globe spend an estimated $2 billion to celebrate All Saints’ Eve — and that’s just for candy! If you take into account the cost of costumes, festive dishes, pumpkins, which are bought up in incredible quantities, plus decorations and decor, then the amount is even more impressive — about 7 billion!
Halloween is another opportunity to get into the Guinness Book of Records. The most popular competition is the carving of Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins with sinister faces and a candle inside. Every year, daredevils compete to see who can carve the lantern the fastest. So, for example, the American teacher Stephen Clark is a recognized Halloween record holder. He broke the world record by carving a Jack-O-lantern at lightning speed — in just 24 seconds! A year earlier, in 60 minutes, Stephen carved 50 lanterns, and in 2008 he dealt with a whole ton of pumpkins in 3 hours 33 minutes and 49 seconds.
There are many opportunities for people to get into the Guinness Book of Records for Halloween, from the nomination «the most numerous procession of zombies» to the nomination «the most piercing scream». And you can also grow the largest pumpkin, for example, 650 kilograms, as one Canadian did.
Some people suffer from Samhainphobia, a strong fear of Halloween. It turns out that this holiday inspires people with real fear and horror. Not only preschoolers and schoolchildren, but also adults are afraid of the carnival of evil spirits. People may be intimidated by the unique decorations (pumpkins, skeleton and ghost paraphernalia), creepy pranks, and the very atmosphere of Halloween.
Halloween as a holiday has changed many times. Over time, from the usual harvest festival, Halloween became a carnival of otherworldly power. Therefore, people tried to turn to evil spirits for help in order to find out their fate. Girls were especially often asked for help. They divined by candles, by mirrors, by sheets and water.
In the 20th century, the attitude to the holiday in America changed a lot. People have turned a terrifying day into a day of romance and the search for love. Instead of terrifying costumes and ominous pumpkins, vendors offered customers candy and gifts for their loved ones. The celebrants themselves had fun with the help of competitions, which were then traditional. For example, a couple — a man and a woman — had to bite off a piece from an apple suspended in the air, without the help of hands. It was believed that the one who did it faster than the others would marry or be married first.
The hot dog costume is the most popular Halloween costume for pets. According to statistics, people dress up dogs and cats in them even more often than in pumpkin costumes, the main symbol of the holiday.
The traditional Halloween palette is black and orange. The color scheme was chosen for a reason. The orange color of the Celts symbolized the harvest harvested in the new year. Black color is a symbol of darkness, mystery and evil spirits.
Halloween variations are celebrated in all countries. In Mexico, a similar holiday is called the Day of the Dead, in China — the Day of Remembrance of the Ancestors, in India — the Diwali festival, in Japan — Obon, in Cambodia — Phum Ben.