Halloween Superstitions and Origins

Halloween derives its name from the fact that in the Christian calendar it occurs the day before ‘All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Day. It was the last night of the old year according to the ancient calendar of the Celts. On that night it was said that the witches, hobgoblins, warlocks, and other evil spirits walked abroad and devoted themselves to wicked revels. But the good fairies, too, according to some folklore, made their appearance at this time, but only from the hour of dusk until midnight.

superstitions and folklore about halloween

Happy Halloween!

It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

If you hear foot steps behind you on this night, don’t look back. It may be the dead following you. Turning back could mean that you will soon join the dead.

Girls who carry a lamp to a spring of water on this night can see their future husband in the reflection.

Girls who carry a broken egg in a glass to a spring of water (during the day) can not only see their future husband by mixing some of the spring water into the glass, but she can also see a glimpse of her future children.

Girls should go into a field and there scatter the seed of hemp. While they did so they chanted “Hempseed I sow thee Come after me and show me”. Upon suddenly turning round, it was declared that each girl would see a vision of the man who would be her husband.

To find out of your lover is true. select one of the letters which you have received from your sweetheart, especially one which contains a particularly passionate and important declaration; lay it wide open upon a table and then fold it nine times. Pin the folds together, place the letter in your left-hand glove, and slip it under your pillow. If on that night you dream of silver, gems, glass, castles or clear water, your lover is true and his declarations are genuine; if you dream of linen, storms, fire, wood, flowers, or he is saluting you, he is false and has been deceiving you.
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Mashed potatoes offer a method of divining who will be the first to wed. Into the heap of mashed potatoes a ring, a three penny-bit, a button, a heart-shaped charm, a shell and a key are inserted. Then all the lights in the room are turned out, and each guest, armed with a spoon or fork, endeavors to find the hidden charms. The one who finds the ring win marry first; the three penny-bit signifies wealth; the button, bachelorhood or spinsterhood; the heart, passionate love; the shell, long journeys; the key, great success and power.

The old Celtic custom was to light great bonfires on Halloween, and after these had burned out to make a circle of the ashes of each fire. Within this circle, and near the circumference, each member of the various families that had helped to make a fire would place a pebble. If, on the next day, any stone was out of its place, or had been damaged, it was held to be an indication that the one to whom the stone belonged would die within twelve months.

Peel an apple from top to bottom. The person with the longest unbroken peel would be assured the longest life. If you threw the apple peel over your shoulder, the initial it forms upon landing is the initial of your future mate.

When bobbing for apples, it is believed that the first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry.

If you go to a crossroads at Halloween and listen to the wind, you will learn all the most important things that will befall you during the next twelve months.

A person born on Halloween can see and talk to spirits

To prevent ghosts coming into the house at Halloween, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.

If a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream.

In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.

Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail’s slime

You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits
Spiders
If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you

If you ring a bell on Halloween, it will scare evil spirits away

If a candle flame suddenly turns blue, there’s a ghost nearby

A burning candle inside a “Jack-o’-lantern” keeps away evil spirits, ghosts and goblins.

If a candle suddenly goes out by itself – as if from a wind or breath, it usually means that a ghost has come to call.

You should always burn new candles on Halloween – for good luck. Never burn Halloween candles any other time of the year, since this may bring bad luck.

Looking deeply into the flame of a candle on Halloween will give you the gift of looking into the future

If you light an orange-colored candle on Halloween night and let it burn until the sun comes up you will have good luck.

Put you clothes on inside-out and walk backwards on Halloween if you want to meet a witch.

Halloween History:

  • 370 AD - “Eve of All Hallows (Saints)” feast associated with the “Night of Mischief.
  • 5th to 19th centuries - Religious celebrations continue in western Europe on eve of Feast of All Saints, which was introduced to replace pagan festivals of dead. During this time Irish and Scottish immigrants celebrate customs imported from homelands.
  • 20th century - Increased urbanization brings Halloween from farms to cities. Pranks increase in cities – term “Trick or Treat” finally appears in print in the 1930s. Urban violence on Halloween increases – forcing churches, social clubs and neighborhoods to organize “safe” celebrations to combat street violence.

Why did the pumpkin become part of Halloween?


Carved pumpkins were actually a very old Irish custom because it was so easy to put a candle in a hollowed-out pumpkin or turnip and use it to light your way.
However, the custom of carving out a face on a pumpkin was much more popular in North America where this member of the squash family was available in large numbers. People began to cut out a comical or frightening face and put it on their porches or doorsteps on Halloween night.
The name “Jack-o’-lantern” comes from an old Irish folktale told by parents to their children. If you carve a scary face on a pumpkin you can frighten people on Halloween.

Where did “Trick or Treating” come from?

Trick or treating is also called “guising.” It has several beginnings. It began with the Irish custom of going from door to door to collect money, bread, cake, cheese, eggs, butter, nuts and apples in preparation for the coming Feast of St. Columkill. Another custom, from Europe, was the begging of “soul cakes” for oneself in exchange for promises of good luck or protection against bad luck.

Couples and Matchmaking:

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday–with luck, by next Halloween!–be married.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday–with luck, by next Halloween!–be married.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

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2 Responses

  1. Pucho says:

    Of all the Superstitions these ones are F***ing annoying & stupid!!!

  2. Jenny says:

    Then what’s it mean when u have a almost black cat with her handy cap leg one toe has white she has kitten but 3 live the other two die one was black and other was grey she had them one 31 of Oct one is male black cat dash of white on chest the other two are girls both tortise shell but one has white foot her ansiter were always two white cats born one with blue eye other had two different colors the other two were soild grey are black they all got fixed she was supposed to but day of appointment she took off then she came to me after I took first litter to be fixed now she had this litter no more white cats they came from her grandmother sister first litter then her litter now I got these I lost my jeans is it bad luck they were born on Halloween for me to keep all 3 will be fixed and mom

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