10 Surprising Facts About Halloween You Might Not Know

Facts about Halloween and Celtic Halloween traditions and practices.

Halloween’s origins trace back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. People marked this event by dressing in costumes and lighting large bonfires to keep evil spirits at bay. While today’s Halloween celebrations include trick-or-treating, dressing up, and pumpkin carving, there’s much more to this spooky season than meets the eye. Let’s delve into 10 surprising facts about Halloween that you might not be aware of.

Halloween originated in Ireland

Indeed, Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween, with the holiday’s origins actively branching out from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This traditional celebration marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. People believed it was a time when the boundary between the living and the dead blurred. Irish ancestors commemorated Samhain by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts, laying the groundwork for the Halloween we celebrate today.

Primitive costumes

Originally, during Samhain, costumes were not the store-bought varieties we see today. People made costumes from animal hides and bones, serving both as a disguise and protection against nefarious spirits.

Bone-fueled fires

Ever wonder about the ‘bon’ in bonfire? Historically, these Halloween fires included actual bones, resulting from animal sacrifices, thus creating a ‘bone fire’.

Apple bobbing for romance

The Celts had a quaint tradition of bobbing for apples to divine future romantic prospects. Catching an apple with your teeth and placing it under your pillow was believed to conjure dreams of your future spouse.

The snap apple game

This game, rooted in Celtic tradition, involved apples hung from strings. Participants attempted to bite into the apples, hands tied, with the belief that the first to succeed would marry next.

Barmbrack’s fortunes

Barmbrack, an Irish fruitcake eaten at Halloween, contained hidden fortunes: a ring for marriage, a coin for wealth, a stick for strife, a pea for singledom, a thimble for spinsterhood, and a rag for poverty.

Days of remembrance

Following Halloween, All Saints’ Day on November 1st celebrates deceased saints, while All Souls’ Day on November 2nd is dedicated to praying for souls in Purgatory, reflecting ancient beliefs of a thin veil between life and death during Halloween.

Here are some more facts about Halloween

Trick-or-treat origins

The custom of trick-or-treating, popularized in North America during the 1920s, has roots in the 15th-century practice of ‘souling’, where people in costumes sang for the dead in exchange for ‘soul cakes’.

Samhainophobia: The fear of Halloween

Not everyone is a fan of Halloween; indeed, some have a phobia known as Samhainophobia, stemming from the ancient festival of Samhain, indicating a fear of the festival of the dead.

Halloween omens and superstitions

Halloween brings its share of omens: a spider signifies a loved one’s spirit is near, a bat suggests ghosts are close, and walking around your home three times backwards before sunset on Halloween is believed to fend off evil spirits.

As you can see, plenty of weird and wonderful traditions, customs, myths and legends surround Halloween. I tried to uncover at least 10 facts about Halloween that you probably didn’t know. How did I do? Did you learn anything new or do you already know everything there is to know about Halloween?

If you are hungry for more blog posts, here you go.

For example, here are the 7 best places to eat within an hour’s drive from Aberdeen.

Similarly, here is my foolproof recipe for traditional Irish scones.

You might also like my list of the  7 restaurants worth the drive from Belfast.

Similarly, you might also like my list of the 7 restaurants worth the drive from Cardiff.

If you are visiting Ireland, take a look at my many blog posts, for example things to do in Ireland.

Furthermore, if you are looking for a place to stay in Ireland, I highly recommend Glenlo Abbey and Longueville House.

Additionally, click here to learn about the traditional Irish foods we use to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Finally, click here to learn about Easter in Ireland: Traditions, food, and festivities.

Lastly, do you like this 10 facts about Halloween blog post? If so, please share it with others.

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