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/ Categories: Records News, October

Horrible History: Halloween

Halloween is believed to have origins in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, particularly influenced by the festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter and was a time when it was thought the boundary between our world and the spirit world thinned. The souls of the dead were allowed back to visit their families and were welcomed with a warm fire and a place at the table. Rituals and games were played to try and predict the future – games such as apple bobbing, scrying and mirror gazing.

In 835 the Pope moved All Hallows’ Day to 1 November, and with All Souls Day on 2 November, the festivals began to merge.

In England during the 1400s ‘souling’ was common between 31 October and 2 November where children and the poor of the parish would go from house to house asking for a soul cake in exchange for prayers for the household. Costumes were worn as part of the All Hallows’ festival so that any vengeful spirits would not be able to recognise their intended victims.

During the 1500s in Ireland and Scotland there are records of guising around All Souls Day when groups would go from house to house dressed in costumes and traded songs for food. By the 1700s pranks had been added to the merrymaking.

The pranks and guising had spread to England by the 1900s when Jack O Lanterns carved from turnips were combined with the costumes.

The celebrating of Halloween waned in England with the popularity of Guy Fawkes Night as many of the traditions – such as toffee apples and, of course, bonfires – were transferred to 5 November; but the global rise of Halloween has brought it back to the fore along with the carefully timed release of horror films and themed events such as Tulley’s ShocktoberFest in Crawley and Manchester’s Halloween in the City.

Our deep storage vaults in Wiltshire are housed in ex-mines and the tunnels, which run for a mile underground, can get pretty spooky. Despite the centuries-long history of the place, though, we haven’t seen a sign of a ghost. Yet.

If you would like more information about our deep storage facilities just give us a call on 03300 376 323 or get in touch here. For hauntings, try Rent-a-Ghost…

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