Monday, October 2, 2017


From Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia, 1935 Edition


Strange things may happen to one on Hallowe'en, so superstitious folk used to believe; for they thought that witches then rode abroad on broomsticks, elves played pranks on sober folk, and the future might be foretold by jumping over a lighted candle, or by any one of a hundred other magic rites.

Many of these strange superstitions have come down to us from our pagan ancestors of 2,000 years ago and more, for our Hallowe'en occurs about the time of the ancient Druidic autumn festival. This was also the season of the ancient Roman festival in honor of Pomona, the goddess of fruit and gardens; and so, after the Roman conquest of Gaul and Britain, some of the Roman beliefs and ceremonies were added. Later, after the spread of Christianity, November 1 was made a day for the honoring of all the saints, and the eve of that day was called "Hallowe'en (or "All Hallow-Even"), meaning the "holy eve" of All Saint's Day. Many of the old pagan customs were retained, and so we still crack nuts, and bob for apples, and throw apple peelings over our shoulders, and look in the mirror by candle light in a darkened room, as our pagan ancestors did centuries ago.

(Emphasis mine)

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