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October 31 - The Haunting History of Halloween

Saturday, October 31st 2020, 12:18 pm - The spooky season has its origins in ancient rites dating back thousands of years.

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If you're looking to get into that Halloween mood, Ireland is a good place to start.

On today's podcast, sponsored by Tourism Ireland, host Chris Mei takes us through the season's 3,000-year-old Celtic roots in the ancient festival of Samhain, whose celebrants would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.

Also known as All Hallows Eve, a name that would gradually morph to today's Halloween, the modern popular version gradually took on the season's iconic staples such as trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

For the Celts, the night before that seasonal switchover was when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grew thinner, and the spirits of the departed could walk the Earth.

It's not hard to see why the ancients would have seen the supernatural in this part of the year. November 1st marked the end of summer and the fall harvest, and the beginning of the cold winter, with its undertones of darkness and death, and cultures dating back to Sumer, the "first" civilization on Earth, made that association.

That part of the year, a transition between summer and fall, is famously changeable weatherwise, and some historic tragedies are associated with it, from the gruesome Donner Pass incident in 1846, to the infamous "Perfect Storm" of 1991. We run you through some of them in the podcast above.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

Thumbnail image courtesy Pixabay

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