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Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry.

On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter. Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards began in England.

It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages , when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats.

We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe.

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And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt. Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last. Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband. Other rituals were more competitive.

At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle. Start your free trial today. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present.

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In countries such as Ireland, Canada In , the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in Its origins remain murky but traces can be identified in ancient Celtic festivals, early Roman A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the Columbus Day is a U.

It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, but did not become a Veterans Day is a U. In , on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied Labor Day is on Monday, September 2nd. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September.

It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday Halloween is nearly here, so grocery stores, coffee Every October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating This Day In History.

Halloween Folk Legends. Haunted History of Halloween. Holidays: The Village Halloween Parade.

Halloween 12222

Halloween's Origins. Halloween Goes Commercial. Columbus Day Columbus Day is a U. In present times, booking a trip to Hawaii or Aruba after the ceremony is for the couple to unwind after months of wedding planning. Remember that whole kidnapping-the-bride debacle attributed to the best man? Throwing rice at the happy couple during the recessional is pretty much nonexistent today, due to safety hazards. But the tiny grains were used back then to "shower" the bride and groom with fortune, prosperity, and fertility.

Liz Susong weighs in on the time-honored spin around the dance floor

But this longstanding tradition of preserving the top tier of the wedding cake was done so the couple could eat it together on their first wedding anniversary. Perhaps you knew that already, but did you know that saving the cake was also tied to having a baby? Finally, a tradition not associated with evil spirits. In early Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures, rings were used as collateral to pay the father of the bride. The reason those shiny bands are placed on the fourth finger during the ceremony is because the fourth finger was believed to contain a specific vein that leads to the heart.

The myth has since been debunked by physiologists, but couples still abide by it today. The tradition dates back to a time of arranged marriages, where the "giving away" of the bride represented transfer of ownership. Back then, young women were used as collateral to settle debts or disagreements with neighboring tribes, as well as for the father to elevate his status by marrying his daughter off to a wealthy family.

Hanging stockings was popularized by a beloved Christmas poem.

Today, though, many brides look forward to having their father walk them down the aisle simply to honor him. Back then, it was customary for the priest to give a holy "kiss of peace" to the groom, who would then pass the kiss on the bride. This was done to bless the marriage inside of the church, giving way to the common phrase heard today at most ceremonies: "You may now kiss the bride. Thus, the groom having to pick her up and force her over the threshold. Also, as part of a recurring theme in this collection of traditions, newlyweds were thought to be highly susceptible to evil spirits. By carrying the bride over the threshold, the groom was said to be protecting her by putting some space between her and the floor.

Or, maybe, her feet just hurt from dancing the night away. By Michelle Darrisaw. Pin ellipsis More. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team.

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