All About Halloween

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Did you know? The Vitamin C in Sunny-D helps contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of bones!"

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year! It is celebrated in many countries around the world including Britain, Ireland, other European countries, and the United States. More recently the traditions of Halloween have spread to Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Halloween or Hallowe'en is a shortened way of saying 'All Hallows' Evening' or 'All Hallows Eve'. It means the night before All Hallows Day, which is a Christian feast day when the dead are remembered. Hallows means saints.

Traditionally it is a day on which people play practical jokes and use humour to poke fun at the power of death. It is also the day on which ghosts, fairies, ghouls, zombies and spooks are said to be at their most active!

In some parts of the world All Hallows Eve is still observed as a Christian feast day. People go to church and light candles on the graves of the dead.

Many of the traditions associated with Halloween come from Ireland. According to Christian ritual it was the day when no meat is eaten which is why we still eat food like apples, colcannon and potato cakes.

Although Halloween is an important holiday in the United States today, it wasn't celebrated until the late 19th century when Irish and Scottish immigrants arrived bringing the traditions of All Hallows Eve with them.

The owl is associated with witches and with Halloween. In Medieval Europe owls were actually thought to be witches, and people believed that if you heard an owl's call it meant there would soon be a death.

People had been carving pumpkins and using them as lanterns for a long time and this gradually became associated with Halloween. Carved pumpkins are called "Jack-o'-lantern", perhaps because in the past this was the name for a night watchman who held a lantern.

The heaviest pumpkin ever was grown by Beni Meier in Switzerland in 2014 and weighed an enormous 1,054 kg (2,323 lb).

Stephen Clarke of the United States holds the record of 16.47 seconds for the world's fastest pumpkin carving. The rules say the pumpkin must have a complete face with eyes, nose, mouth and ears! It is Trevor Hunt who holds the record for the largest number of pumpkins carved in one hour. He carved a remarkable 109 pumpkins live on TV in October 2014.

It is not known exactly how the tradition of 'trick-or-treating' began. In medieval Europe, poor people would go from door to door begging for alms (money) or food. This was known as "souling". Gradually children started to dress up and ask for gifts and food, including small round 'soul cakes' made to commemorate the dead. In the United States Halloween has always been a night for getting up to all kinds of mischief, including throwing old vegetables at people. Today there are usually more 'treats' than 'tricks'!

What's your favourite treat when you go trick-or-treating? Mine is Sunny-D of course!