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10 Halloween Facts

1. Samhain - The tradition of Halloween comes from Samhain, an ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic People. It took place in Britain, Ireland and northwestern France. 2. Wicce - The word witch comes from the Old English wicce, meaning wise woman. Although the masculine Old English version known as wicca “man practicing witchcraft”; first occurred in the Laws of Alfric (890). The feminine wicce surfaced in the year 1000. This chronology does not mean that witches arose after wizards. Words, especially such words, may exist long before they find their way into a manuscript or onto a printed page, but, as far as Anglo-Saxon England is concerned, men have some precedence when it comes to pursuing magic, at least in terms of their names’ attestation. 3. Halloween - The moniker "Halloween" comes from the Catholics. Hallowmas is a three-day Catholic holiday where saints are honored and people pray for the recently deceased. At the start of the 11th century, it was decreed by the pope that it would last from October 31 (All Hallow's Eve) until November 2, most likely because that was when Samhain was celebrated and the church was trying to convert the pagans. 4. Jack-O-Lanterns - The origin of Jack-O-Lanterns comes from a Celtic folk tale of a stingy farmer named Jack who would constantly play tricks on the devil. The devil responded by forcing him to wander purgatory with only a burning lump of coal from hell. Jack took the coal and made a lantern from a turnip, using it to guide his lost soul. 5. Candy Corn - Invented by George Renninger, a candy maker at the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia in the 1880s, Candy Corn was originally called "butter cream candies" and "chicken feed" since back then, corn was commonly used as food for livestock (they even had a rooster on the candy boxes). 6. Trick-or-Treat - In Scotland and Ireland, young people took part in a tradition called guising, dressing up in costume and accepting offerings from various households. Rather than pledging to pray for the dead, they would sing a song, recite a poem, tell a joke or perform another sort of “trick” before collecting their treat, which typically consisted of fruit, nuts or coins. The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada. 7. Scarecrows - Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday. The origins of the scarecrow vary. Most people believe that the scarecrow was invented to keep crows away from the fields' crops; however, there are some scholars that believe that the scarecrow idea originated in ancient times when a man was sacrificed to appease the gods and to ensure a healthy harvest. 8. Guy Fawkes Night - Because Protestant England did not believe in Catholic saints, the rituals traditionally associated with Hallowmas (or Halloween) became associated with Guy Fawkes Night. England declared November 5th Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the capture and execution of Guy Fawkes, who co-conspired to blow up the Parliament in 1605 in order to restore a Catholic king 9. Yue Lan - Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan or the “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts” during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge. 10. Halloween Parade - The Village Halloween parade in New York City is the largest Halloween parade in the United States. The parade includes 50,000 participants and draws over 2 million spectators. The parade begins in Greenwich Village and ONLY those in costume are welcome to join Hundreds of Puppets, 53 Bands of different types of music, Dancers and Artists, and Thousands of Other New Yorkers in Costumes of their own creation in NYC’s special brand of Carnivale! The parade kicks off at 7:00 pm on October 31st. #FunFacts

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