Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Hallowed History...

There are certain things you think of when you think of October and Halloween and they are all rooted deep in traditions from as far back as ancient Celtic culture. Here is some more Halloween history.

.Bobbing for Apples.
Vintage Halloween Postcard Bobbing for Apples

Halloween has long since been said to be a magical time and traditional festivities usually included several divination rituals. In Celtic tradition, apples were associated with female deities who controlled the ways of love so the fruit was used in many marriage divinations. One of the most popular of the time was for young unmarried people to try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string. It was said that the first person that bit into the apple would be the next one to marry.

In the first century A.D., Celtic practices were adopted by the Romans and Samhain was assimilated into some of the other Roman traditions such as their day to honor Pomona. Pomona is the goddess of fruits and trees and her symbol is the apple.

Apples are still a big part of Halloween celebrations today. In addition to bobbing for Apples, we make candy apples, drink apple cider and some people even hand out apples to trick or treaters.

.Candy Corn.
Candy Corn

For most of us, candy corn goes hand in hand with Halloween. You either love the sugary sweetness or are disgusted by it's main ingredients; sugar, corn syrup and wax. Either way, candy corn wont be going anywhere for a long time to come.

Candy corn was invented in the 1880's by an unknown party but the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia was the first to go into commercial production of the treat. However, the company which is most associated with it is the Goelitz Confectionary Company who began commercial production of candy corn in 1898 in Cincinnati and is today the oldest manufacturer of the Halloween icon.

Making candy back then wasn't the highly mechanized year round job it is today. They manufactured it seasonally from March through November, and it was all man made. The tricolor design was revolutionary for its time, this tedious task was accomplished by men called stringers who would walk backward pouring the steaming candy mixture into trays of corn starch imprinted with kernal shaped molds. Three passes were made, one for each color.

Though these days, computers and machines aid most of the production, candy corn has remained virtually unchanged for well over 100 years. In 2001, according to the National Confectioners Association, manufacturers sold more than 20 million pounds of candy corn.

My Daughter Zoey on her first Halloween

Dressing up in a costume for Halloween is one of the main staples of this holiday but can you believe that it started because people were trying to scare off ghosts?

Celtic society believed that during Samhain, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed, so on the night of October 31st, villagers would dress up in all manor of goulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

(P.S > The baby in the Little Red Riding Hood costume is my little girl Zoey on her first Halloween. My mom made this amazing costume for her. So cute, right? =)

Until next time...

Photos: Bobbing for apples is from the Flickr photo group Vintage Halloween, Candy Corn is from Tamelyn on Flickr and of course the baby is MINE =) lol.

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