If the proverbial aliens came down to earth on the 31 October what would they observe? They'd see small, scary creatures roaming the streets, after dark, usually accompanied by larger (usually) less scary creatures. The small creatures dress in costumes that each different but seem to have something in common. The larger creatures have a weary appearance and look at their watches quite often. The smaller creatures knock on doors, where they are ignored or receive gifts of food.
From their observations, the extra-terrestrial visitors could not possibly conclude that they had landed on the day of the ancient Christian, or possibly pagan, or possibly Celtic celebration of Halloween, or All Hallows' Eve.
Trick or treating is just a new variation of the old tradition of dressing up in costumes and begging on doorsteps. All Hallows' Eve is the first day of Hollowmas, a three day (known as a triduum) western Christian period of prayer. The two days following are designated as All Saints 'Day (1 November), and All Souls' Day (2 November). In Britain in the middle ages, beggars would go 'souling' from door to door on All Saints' Day and receive food in return for saying prayers for their benefactors on All Saint's Day.
Given that Halloween has its origins going so far back and its connection with saints and souls, it is hardly surprising that there are a fair few Halloween superstitions about. A superstition is a practice based on irrational beliefs. A good superstition is going to have just enough of the unfathomable to make it seem possible, a touch of the inexplicable to make it desirable and enough mystery to make it enchanting: Here are two of the best for Halloween.
1. An apple a day does more than keep the doctor away.
Like most Halloween superstitions this one goes back a long way. The Romans introduced apple trees to Britain and the game of apple bobbing may have first been played way back then. The game is played by placing apples in a tub of water and each of the players trying to bite into an apple.
If you've ever tried to play the game you'll know that to be successful the apples need to be small or the tub shallow enough to allow you to force the apple under the water and onto the tub's base. Okay, it's pretty unhygienic, so you might prefer the variation of hanging the apples on strings.
The belief is that the first person to bite into the apple would be the next to get married. Now here's a thought: what happens if there's someone in the room due to marry the next day who does not get an apple?
And there's more fun to have had with apples apart from apple bobbing. Have you heard this one: women (only women, I'm afraid, not men) who wants to dream of who they will marry place the apple they bob under their pillows.
And how about this: the person who can peel an apple and get the longest peel will have the longest life. So you either make sure you get the largest apple or play the game by yourself.
2. Walking back to happiness and finding a husband when you get there.
Yes, it's women only, again. On Halloween, walk upstairs backwards while eating an unsalted hard-boiled egg (it's tough if you do not like eggs) and you'll see your future husband in the mirror you're holding. That's if you have not fallen, broken the mirror and got seven years' bad luck.
Alternately, (you guessed it, women only), walk back down the stairs (no eggs needed this time) to your cellar (if you have a cellar) and look in the mirror (buy a new one if you broke it walking back upstairs ) and you'll see your future spouse.
If aliens landed on 31 October they might be confused about trick and treating, but what would they make of the things we do because of our Halloween superstitions. Like you, I bet they'd want to give them a try.
Source by Garry Costain