As Halloween approaches, Ruby has the office decorated with faux spider webs and rubber bats, and there is excitement in the air. The staff is getting ready for dressing up, treats, and parties this Saturday. Halloween is one of the oldest holidays still widely celebrated today, and its popularity is second only to Christmas. But how much do we really know about the holiday?
Most historians trace the origin of Halloween back to Celtic traditions in pre-medieval Europe. The Celts celebrated October 31st as the last day of their calendar, a sort of Celtic New Year. The celebration had roots in honoring the dead, and has been known by many names in its long history. The term “All Hallows Eve” was given to the celebration by early Christians who recognized the day as the eve before All Saints Day. “All Hallows Eve” has evolved into the Halloween that we know and love today.
Some of the traditional American customs of Halloween have roots in old Celtic and early Christian customs. The carving of pumpkins dates back to the early Celts when they used to carve lanterns out of turnips or rutabagas and set them on their windowsills to represent the souls they had lost. The term “jack-o’-lantern” can be traced back to the old Irish legend of Stingy Jack. Candied apples as a traditional treat are believed to have been given on the holiday by the ancient Romans. The apple is the symbol of the Roman goddess Pomona, goddess of fruit trees and gardens. The tradition of passing out treats on Halloween is based on the Celtic custom of giving gifts to the souls of the dead to please them and ensure plentiful crops in the next year.
Regardless of the history, modern Halloween is certainly a day of excitement and fun! The Ruby team wishes you a safe and happy Halloween!