Halloween is one of the oldest holidays celebrated all over the world.
The Jack-o-Lantern is perhaps the most famous icon of Halloween. It was originally made from potatoes and turnips by Irish children. But when the Irish potato famine hit, over 700,000 people immigrated to the Americas. Turnips were not so readily available in the Americas as they were back home, the American pumpkin became an adequate replacement for the children to carve. The Jack-o-lanterns were made to commemorate Jack,the sly Irish villain who was rejected by God and the devil, he wanders endlessly for a place to rest with his only warmth from a candle inside a rotten turnip.
The custom of Trick or Treat originated from the Druids, they believed that the dead would play tricks on mankind and needed to be appeased. The country folk did this by giving the Druids food as they visited their homes.
The witch is another symbol of Halloween. The name comes from the Saxon wica meaning ‘wise one’. When setting out for a Sabbath the witches put a sacred ointment on their skin. This gave them the sensation of flying. Some witches rode on horseback, but the poor ones went on foot and brought a pole or broom to aid in vaulting over streams. When new witches were initiated in England they were blindfolded and smeared with the flying ointment. This confused the mind and speed up the pulse and numbed the feet. When they were told “You are flying over land and sea” the witch believed them.