Halloween is a Love Holiday
As the nights get longer and colder, you’re probably in the mood for a little warmth by the fire—preferably with someone special to get cozy with. If you’re planning an All Hallows’ Eve with a romantic twist, set the mood by lighting a few pumpkins, gathering some sweet treats and libations, dressing as you like (Costumes are optional.) and telling the tale of Halloween’s more scandalous roots.
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As most of us know, the roots around what we call Halloween today surround the time of the last harvest and a time when we honor our loved ones who have passed on. But where there is loss there is also the hope of new crops, new life and even new love ensuring the continuation of a culture or civilization. Not too many people realize the history and timeless connection between Halloween and romantic relationships.
If you were originally from Scotland or Ireland, you might choose the time of the harvest to see a fortune teller to do various dating divination works such as burning chestnuts in a fire or receiving some nutty, sugary sweets to eat before bed on Halloween in the hopes of seeing your future love in a dream.
By the late 18th and early 19th century in American, varying European immigrant traditions and even some Native American traditions surrounding the event of the harvest season gave way to public events called “play parties.” People would share ghost stories, read each other’s fortunes and generally celebrate with dance and song. Of course single guys and girls would use this venue to meet new love interests.
Trick or Treat
After the mid-1800s the Irish and English influence in the states began to include guising, or the wearing of costumes, and going house to house asking for food and/or money on Halloween. During this time and likely before, young ladies believed they could use divination to find the first initial of their future husbands by using apple pairings, dropping them in water or on the ground to see what initial might form. Other tricks with yarn or leaves would bring similar results. In another, one girl at a time would enter a dark room that had a mirror in it. Looking at their reflection, they would hold a candle up to their shoulder in the hopes of getting a glimpse at their soon-to-be Mr. Right (Watch the hair, ladies!) standing next to them.
Getting Hitched and Halloween
While the time of Halloween has always been about gathering the final harvest, it’s also symbolic of the life cycle, so it makes sense that while we honor our loved ones who have passed on, we also celebrate and invite the generations to come. This is why many of the traditions old and new include dating divination. Traditionally, it was hoped that if you could identify your soon-to-be husband on or around Halloween, you would be married before the next Halloween.
However, in those centuries past, if you were an unwed woman, living alone who grew old with only a cat to call your friend, you might be considered a witch or a crone. The villagers would see you as a dangerous outcast and they might even burn down your little cottage and chase you through the woods. So aside from Halloween being a great time to meet and mingle with people from other villages and surrounding lands, it seems it was the best time to make sure you didn’t wind up a lonely old crone.
A Night for Mischief
In the 21st century, Halloween has become a dating holiday second only to Valentine’s Day. Having adult costume parties nowadays usually consists of people looking their best and sexiest in order to attract a mate. Halloween, at least in the adult world, has become a night where a little naughty mischief is almost expected.
Through the centuries, Halloween and the harvest have always been a time when the days get shorter and the nights get longer and colder, so it’s no wonder that it has really always been a time when dating and mating were on the minds of many, as they continue to be.