The History of Halloween involves more than candy and costumes. Here are 10 things you might not know about the holidays.
1. The Holidays Goes Back More than 2,000 years ago. Halloween all started as a pre-Christian Celtic New Year’s festival. It was called Samhain (pronounced `Soo-when’, `So-ween’ or `Saw-wen’), which means “summers end”. Samhain was held around the first of November. It marked the final day of the harvest season. It also celebrated the Crossing of spirits over into another world. People in Ireland, the U.K. and France would ward of ghosts. They historically lit sacrificial bonfires and wore costumes.
2. Trick-or-Treating has existed since Medieval Times. In Scotland and Ireland, Trick-or-Treating was known as “guising”. Young people dressed up and asked for food or money. Today, the tradition has morphed into children asking for candy.
3. Halloween rituals used to involve finding a husband. During 18th century, ladies would follow Halloween traditions. These would supposedly help them find a romantic match. Rituals included women throwing apple peels over their shoulders.
4. Immigrants helped popularize the holiday in the U.S. The Irish fled their country in the 1840s. It was due to potato famine. They bought their Halloween traditions with them to the United States. By the 1920s, the holiday started gaining traction.
5. Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday. It comes second to the Christmas in the U.S. Consumers spent approximately $9 billion on Halloween in 2019. This is according to the National Retail Federation.
6. The Irish also brought U.S. Jack-o-Lanterns. Legend has it, an Irish man, Stingy Jack, tricked the devil. After that, he wasn’t allowed into heaven or hell. Instead, he spent his days roaming the earth, carrying a lantern. He also known by the name of “Jack of the Lantern”.
7. Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in U.S. The state has over 15,000 acres devoted to ground growing. This is according to the United States Department of Agriculture. These farms grow 500 million pounds of pumpkins annually.
8. Candy corn originally had another name. It used to be called “chicken feed”. The Goelitz Confectionary Company sold boxes of it. They first put a rooster on the front. It was supposedly meant to appeal to America’s agricultural roots. The recipe has barely changed since the 1880s.
9. New York City throws the biggest Halloween parade. It draws over 2 million spectators and thousands of participants. Greenwich Village puppeteer, Ralph Lee created the parade.
10. Skittles are the Top-Selling Halloween candy. The bite-Sized candies outrank M&M’s, Snickers and Reese’s Cups. This is based on 11 years of sales data from candystore.com. Candy corn made the top 10 list. It was also rated one of the worst Halloween candies.
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