5 Of Halloween's Ancient Origins And Spooky Traditions We Still Celebrate Today

5 Of Halloween's Ancient Origins And Spooky Traditions We Still Celebrate Today

Discover the mischievous roots of the eerie holiday!


Fall is nearly in the air! The leaves are starting to change color and fall to the Earth. The pumpkin spice lattes have been fragrantly filling the crisp, chilly air. It's official, only a few more short weeks until the spookiest holiday of all!

If you're like me, you're breaking out the spider web decorations, preparing porch pumpkins for carving, and frantically assembling your 2-3 different Halloween costumes.

But how did we start celebrating this tradition? Why do people put out jack-o-lanterns or wear costumes on October 31st?

Discovering the intriguing origins of Halloween traditions is something most of us have never taken the time to investigate.

1. The birth of Halloween


Dating back over 2,000 years ago, Samhain, ancient Celtic festivals, were linked to Halloween. These rituals were practiced to mark the end of summer and the beginning of harvest and winter. A time often associated with death, it's speculated that the Celts believed spirits of the dead would return.

2. Costumes


Clear details about the festival are still fragmented, but according to LiveScience, to prepare for this pagan ritual Celts would wear grotesque costumes in an attempt to fool wandering spirits into thinking they were one of them. Historians theorize that this practice could be related to the "souling" tradition, where penniless people would wear disguises to knock on neighbor's doors, begging for food. The most popular costumes at the time? The Mummy and handwoven straw suits.

3. Jack-o'-lanterns


Much like the "souling" tradition, in medieval Britain, people would go door-to-door with "hollowed-out turnip lanterns, whose candle connoted a soul trapped in purgatory." (Halloween-From Pagan Ritual to Party Night) They would offer prayers for the dead in exchange for food. Pumpkins took the place of turnips due to the ease of carving and abundance in North America in the late 1800s.

4. Tricks


Tricks have been practiced on Halloween in the United States and Canada for nearly 200 years. A common prank was "knock-a-dolly" or ding-dong ditch, where children knock on neighbor's doors and run away before the door opens. People would cow-tip, open farmers' gates, and egg houses as pranks on All Hallows Eve, until in the 1920s when parents and officials invented trick-or-treating in an attempt to control the rowdy festivities.

5. Treats


Asking for treats, in one way or another, has been a custom from the start. In colonial-era America, bobbing apples was a form of fortune-telling. According to the book Halloween and Commemorations of the Dead, whoever could pluck an apple using only their mouth out of a bucket of water first would marry first. Parents would often hide candy and pastries for a treasure hunt to keep children entertained.

Folklorist John Santino says, "Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death." People dress-up as ghosts and adorn gravestones in their front yards to bring some fun to a concept that is often scary and macabre. Halloween has evolved to a commercialized holiday over the past 100 years, but it still maintains various glimmers of ancient traditions, like supernatural entities, playing tricks, and asking for treats, all these years later. Afterall, who can resist a little playful mischief?!


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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.


The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!


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