Why is Halloween filled with spirits, saints, and sinners? Here's the scoop on pumpkin day, courtesy of The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Halloween was a popular pagan festival of the dead (Samhain). The ancient Celts celebrated the new year on November 1. They believed that the souls of the dead returned to Earth the night before.
Samhain is Gaelic for “summer’s end,” a day to bid good-bye to warmth and light as day length shortens.
In an attempt to replace this festival, the church moved the celebration of All Saints to November 1. This is the day when all of the saints are honored, especially those who did not have a day of their own. This day was formerly known as Allhallowmas, hallow meaning "holy" or "holy person." All Saints Day is known in England as All Hallows Day.
The evening before, October 31, is known as All Hallows Eve, the origin of the American word Halloween!
Originally, the Irish used hollowed-out, candlelit turnips carved with a demon’s face to frighten away the spirits.
When Irish immigrants in the 1840s found few turnips in the United States, they used the more plentiful pumpkins instead.
See more about the History of Carving Pumpkins.
Credit: Susan Valladao; Carved by Mike Valladao
Get into the Halloween spirit with these seasonal crafts! See how to make:
• A pumpkin seed necklace
• Pumpkin Spice Mix
• Really cool carved pumpkin designs
• Native American corn husk dolls
• Apple heads
Halloween and fall gets us in the mood for baking. Win the new, best-selling Everyday Baking cookbook from The Old Farmer's Almanac—plus, a 6-piece, high-quality, Made-in-the-USA bakeware set to serve up some of the 118 scrumptious recipes. Enter Giveaway here.
October's full Moon, on Monday, the 29th, should shine bright for those trick or treaters! See your full Moon phases, best days by the Moon, and more on this Full Hunter's Moon Guide.
Are you mobile? Check our the Almanac's Full Moon Finder app to see your daily Moon and enjoy folklore.
And have a spooky, All Hallow Eve, lit by our magical Moon!
On Monday, Aug. 21, the event that millions have anticipated will unfold when the moon passes directly in front of the sun.
Following the formation of Harvey, two additional tropical systems may form across the Atlantic Basin with one potentially impacting the U.S.
The government of Portugal has issued a state of public calamity as wildfires continue to burn across the country ahead of a weekend heat wave.
After drenching the Windward Islands, Harvey is set to track toward Central America and may bring dangerous conditions early next week.
A monsoon low that brought deadly flooding to northeast India, Bangladesh and Nepal over the past week will shift westward into Monday and bring flooding to new areas.
Devastating flooding and mudslides struck the west African country of Sierra Leone, while tropical activity was abundant in the Atlantic.
A bout of locally heavy rain will impact northern and western areas of the United Kingdom late Sunday into Monday as moisture from Gert crosses the British Isles.
Many photographers agree: You probably will not fry your phone if you point it to the sky on Aug. 21 for a moment or two, but you may not get a quality image either.