so as it’s Halloween tomorrow here’s a bit of info about the day. Halloween has its origins in pagan festivals held around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. People believed that, at this time of year, the spirits of dead people could come ‘alive’ and walk among the living. They thought that it was important to dress up in costumes when venturing outside, to avoid being harmed by the spirits. This may be the origin of the Halloween costumes seen today. In Puritan times, Halloween celebrations were outlawed, but they were revived in later times.
Did you know that the City of York has gained a reputation as perhaps the most haunted city in England and it is often known somewhat affectionately as ‘the City of 1000 ghosts?’
It can be called Halloween Bob Apple Night or Duck Apple Night but I’ve never heard it call that in North Yorkshire. Apparently, this comes from a traditional game played at this time of year and known as ‘apple bobbing’ or ‘apple ducking’. Some people believe that apple bobbing is a reminder of the way women accused of witchcraft in the middle ages were tried. They were tied to a chair and repeatedly ducked into a river or pond. If a woman drowned, she was declared innocent. If she survived, she was declared a witch and burnt at the stake. So, there was no way out for the women accused of being a witch!
Some aspects of the modern Halloween celebrations, such as carving lanterns out of vegetables originated long ago. Many customs originated in the United States and have travelled back to the United Kingdom. All photographs are taken by SJ Butler Photography.