Halloween may seem like it's all about the costumes and candy, but the holiday has its roots in pagan beliefs. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween marked the Celtic New Year and was originally called Samhain, which translates to "summer's end" in Gaelic. I don't know where you are in the province, but it sure feels like "summer's end" to me!
Today on my Halloween Countdown, I thought I'd share the meaning behind five creeptastic Halloween staples. Are you ready to be spooked?
Black Cats: It's believed that if one walks in front of you, you're in for some bad luck, but the history of this superstition dates back to the Dark Ages when witch hunts were common. Cats were accused of being the "familiars" of witches—pets that had been given to them by the devil. Thankfully, people don't really think cats are bad luck (or evil animals). In Ireland, Scotland and England, for instance, it's considered good luck for a black cat to cross your path.
Bats: Medieval folklore also suggests that bats are familiars for witches, and seeing a bat on Halloween was considered an ominous sign. If you're not a fan of rodents, I can see why bats might be creepy, but I promise, if one flies into your house, it doesn't mean your home is haunted.
Spiders: Okay, I admit, I'm not a fan of spiders. (Not even the ones in the Superman Duffy graphic novel AMELIA XERCES DUFFY...) But even I know that if I spot a spider on Halloween, it doesn't mean a deceased loved one is watching over me—it means it's fall, and they're (sadly) everywhere.
Trick or Treating: In olden times, it was believed that during Samhain, the veil between our world and the spirit world was thinnest, and that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living. The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human form, such as a beggar, and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted. I wonder if the lady at the end of my street knows that—she never hands out candy!
Halloween Colours: Ever wonder why everything is black and orange this month? The traditional Halloween colours of orange and black actually stem from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest, with orange symbolizing the colours of the crops and turning leaves, while black marks the "death" of summer and the changing season.
Pretty neat, right?
Gotta jet! See you tomorrow for another creeptastic Halloween treat—perfect for your Halloween feast. Mwahahahaha.
~ Chase Superman Duffy