Saturday, October 22, 2011

She's on her broomstick again.....

Witches and black cats have become the standard symbols of Halloween.
But where did these traditions come from?

Legend tells of witches arriving on broomsticks and gathering each year on Halloween to celebrate at a party hosted by the devil. The superstitious claimed that witches cast spells on unsuspecting people, could change themselves into different forms, and caused other magical mischief. One superstition said if you wanted to meet a witch, you had to put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night, at midnight a witch would appear. When European settlers arrived in America they brought many superstitions with them, including their belief in witches and the mischief they take pleasure in on Halloween.

Original Art Available on Etsy:

The black cat has often been associated with a witch. One old tale said that a witch could shape shift into a cat. Other tales said black cats were the spirits of the dead. The most common superstition, "if a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck" still causes people to go in the opposite direction to avoid a stretch of bad luck.
Original Art on Etsy:

 There are many other superstitions associated with Halloween.

For example, the Welsh believed that when you sneezed you blew the soul out of the body. this is where “God bless you” originated. If someone sneezed on Halloween, it was especially dangerous because the devil could capture their soul.

Other cultures believed that owls swooped down to eat the souls of the dying. If an owl was heard hooting, the superstitious would get scared and believed that turning pockets inside out would keep them safe from Owls.

While eating dinner on Halloween, Africans brought to America as slaves would eat in complete silence to encourage spirits to come to the table.

There is also a lot to be said about babies born on Halloween. It once was thought children born on this day could see and talk to ghosts and spirits, it was called the gift of second sight. Additionally, Halloween babies are supposed to enjoy lifelong protection against evil spirits.

Halloween is one of the oldest and the second most popular holiday (only to Christmas) in America. Today it is portrayed as time for fun, friends and family. Some still see it's superstitious nature or ties to the deceased. Some religions even view it as an unholy holiday. But whatever your view, you can't deny the fascinating nature of Halloween.

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1 comment:

  1. Lot's of interesting info. Thanks for sharing.
    Everyday Inspired