Halloween, which the Irish can lay claim to founding, inspired many traditions on how to ward off the evil spirits the Irish believed came to visit them during the Halloween season – the end of the light and the beginning of the dark season.
According to a leading commentator on agriculture in Kansas, John Schlageck, “The Irish believed fairies, who came out of their mounds at Halloween, played pranks on the people who lived above ground. When the Irish came to this country they decided to emulate the fairies by going around and putting carriages on barns and turning over outhouses.”
Several of the traditions have been transported across the world and here are some of the “tools” used to keep the ghosts at bay.
Bonfires – light a big bonfire to keep the spirit world away.
Black cats – Schlageck said these creatures are “associated with Faust who sold his soul to the devil for knowledge and power.”
Pumpkin or jack-o’-lanterns – faces carved on the pumpkins are said to keep away ghosts from the door.
Dressing up as various creatures is another way for people to ward off bad spirits.
Halloween colors are still orange and black, colors associated with the dead.
Now how well do you know your history of Halloween? Jack o’ Lanterns are thought to have originated in which country? What popular Halloween candy in the USA was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped for sale? If you want to find out how well you know your Halloween History, go and take this test!