BY CAMILA DONOSO
Where does the phrase“Halloween”come from? The word “Halloween”originally comes from “Hallowe´en,” a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening.” Since this celebration has a Christian background mixed with Pagan Celtic influence, a combination of those words ended up as this name. This celebration, created to remember the dead and embrace death in a funny or ridiculous way, is a day in which the dead and the living can be together without fear.
Let’s start with some random facts. Halloween is the second most-marketed holiday after Christmas in the U.S. Every year, different companies and brands spend millions of dollars making commercials or advertising campaigns for Halloween.
Another interesting fact is that the word “witch” comes from the Old English word “wicce,” meaning wise woman. The next time somebody calls you witch, you may consider saying “thanks!”
This is for all those that like carving pumpkins: the largest pumpkin ever measured was grown by Norm Craven, who broke the world record in 1993 with an 836 lb. pumpkin. But don’t feel bad about your pumpkin decoration; I’m sure you don’t need one like that in your dorm.
Black and orange are Halloween´s colors by default, but why? Orange represents the harvest and autumn´s natural color spectrum. Black represents the association with death and night, the close relationship with underground, cemeteries and skulls.
Have you ever enjoyed a bonfire? Bonfires have occurred since Halloween’s beginnings. In ancient times, they were lit to ensure the sun would return after the long, hard winter. Druid priests would often throw the bones of cattle into the flames; therefore, “bone fire” became “bonfire.”
According to some sources, Ireland was supposed to be the first place that celebrated Halloween. Now this traditional festivity has crossed borders, and a lot of countries in the world mark this date in their calendar because it is a good excuse for throwing parties or dressing up.
In South America, we have a similar celebration called Día de los Muertos or Día de Difuntos, celebrated on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.. We remember people that have passed away, and it is a special day when the barriers between the dead and the alive blur. We also visit cemeteries and bake homemade bread while drinking hot beverages. It is a special day to spend with the family. On the other hand, in recent years, we have in a sense adopted the American-style Halloween, often throwing costume parties with a lot of candy. It has become a new celebration, especially for kids and young people today.
I hope that you already have your Halloween costume and have a Happy Halloween!
References: randomhistory.com. (October, 4th 2010). 40 Fun Facts about Halloween. Random Facts.