Saturday, May 2, 2009

Halloween history on tv

To my surprise, as I was looking to see what was on tv last night, the words 'The True History of Halloween' caught my eye. Even though it is admittedly a kids' show, (I'm a kid-at-heart', so maybe that counts!), 'Truth or Scare', on Discovery Kids has actually had some pretty good episodes, including last night's Halloween history one. The set was done up in wonderfully spooky decor, with glowing pumpkins and a bubbling cauldron, etc. It told the history of Halloween starting with the ancient rituals of the Druids, and how our traditions today, such as TOTing, first got started. I didn't know, for example, that the tradition of bobbing for apples at Halloween parties was originally done by unmarried people, and that the first person to get the apple was said to be the one to get married! The show also talked about the ancient belief in vampires and witches, and a real life witch was interviewed throughout the show. All in all, I thought it was a really fun show, and I really enjoyed it. I will be keeping my eye on 'Truth or Scare' from now on. This is the second or third time I've watched the show and found it very interesting.

Here is a little synopsis of the entire show:


Michelle describes the history of Halloween and traces modern-day traditions such as trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples back to their Celtic roots.

Full Recap

Michelle tells how Halloween comes from an ancient Celtic holiday celebrating the end of summer harvest and celebrated to please the gods and ward off evil spirits. She speaks to a modern-day witch to learn about the ancient traditions our modern-day festivities derive from. Bobbing for apples was originally something young unmarried people did. Rumor was the first person to get an apple would be the first to get married.Trick-or-treating was something peasents did. Each family would bake a small treat to share with their neighbors. If people felt you weren't being generous enough, you got a "trick". But tricks weren't all fun and games - sometimes people got killed as part of one.There are two theories on how jack-o-lanterns came to be. One is the story of a boy named Jack who liked to play tricks on people. One time he tricked the devil into climbing up a tree that he couldn't get down from. As punishment, Jack's soul was forced to wander the earth forever with only a candle in a pumpkin to guide him. Another says that the ancient Celts actually used human heads in their Halloween rituals.Cristians were afraid that the Celts' celebration worshipped the devil, so they declared the day after the Celtic holiday All Saints Day and renamed October 31st All Hallows Eve, which was later shortened to just "Halloween".

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