Sadly enough, all I knew about Halloween was… we inherited this custom from the US, people carve pumpkins, Heidi Klum organizes dress parties and kids trick-or-treat at peoples houses. When I walked past these pumpkins during a wonderful sunday walk with a friend of mine I realized that there is too much I did not know about Halloween:
NAME: Halloween is named after All Hallows Eve (English for “Vorabend von Allerheiligen”) as it is celebrated on the 31st of October one day before the 1st of November – All Hallows.
ORIGIN: Originally it is an Irish tradition, which has been brought to the United States in the 19th century by Irish immigrants.
CARVED PUMPKINS: An Irish myth says, that bad Mr. Jack Oldfield once captured the devil and would only led him go, if he never again crosses his way. When Jack O died he could not go to heaven due to his bad behaviors but as he had betrayed the devil, hell was not an option for him either. The devil though had pitty with him and gave him a turnip (English for “Speiserübe”) and a glowing coal to find his way through the dark. Therefore originally it was a lucent turnip, not a pumpkin. Since there are far more pumpkins than turnips in the US, the carved pumpkin took over the tradition, also known as Jack O’Lantern. To keep away ghosts, people carve grotesque faces in it.
DRESS PARTIES: When carnival was cancelled due to the Gulf war in Iraq in 1991 the custom to dress up for Halloween parties increased.