In case you've forgotten, today is Halloween. Whether you're a trick-or-treater, win the costume contest every year, or just stay home with some scary movies, October 31st has something for everyone.
Halloween is about 2,000 years old, and is derived from the Celtic New Year Samhain (pronounced sow-in). With the spread of Christianity, November 1st became All Saints Day or All-hallows, and the night before was named All-hallows Eve. Later, November 2nd was named All Souls Day. Halloween as it is currently celebrated is an amalgamation of different European and Native American customs, but still distinctly American in flavor. It is also the second largest commercial holiday. Can you guess the first?
Also on these days is Los Días de los Muertos, or Days of the Dead, from October 31 to November 2. The origins of this celebration go back about 3,000 years, and its origins in Mexico have a strong Aztec influence. The traditions both honor the dead through altars and mock death in celebration.
It's fascinating that so many different cultures have observed these days for thousands of years, and they've come together on this continent with black cats, jack o' lanterns, skulls and skeletons, and most importantly, candy.
Come in to any Library branch and you'll see haunted house decorations and a costume or two. To get ready, you can carve your own pumpkin, and here's a spooky story that is perfect for this day of ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires.