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Doc Halloween Presents Halloween History

Anniversaries and Holidays 3rd ED


"October, the tenth month in the Gregorian calendar, received its name from the Latin numeral octo meaning "eight," because in the days of the old Roman calendar it was the eighth month.
One of the notable days in October is Columbus Day, October 12, honoring the discovery of America by the Italian map-maker and explorer, Christopher Columbus. It is celebrated as Discovery Day in Central and South America and was set aside as a holiday in the United States in 1892 by President Harrison.
Hawaii has a special October event called "the Aloha Festival," sometimes described as the "Mardi Gras of the Pacific." It is observed with pageantry, street dancing, hulu festivals, luaus, parades, and fancy balls.
October gave its name to one of the best-known German fall festivals. Oktoberfest started on October 17, 1810, the wedding day of King Ludwig I. It still retains the name, even though the festivities may start in September, with October having only a partial share of the time schedule.
An important October day for the entire world is October 24, United Nations Day, which commemorates the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. It is a holiday for many of te member nations and is generally observed by all nations as a way of publicizing the aims and achievements of the world organization.
The month end with Halloween or All Hallow's Eve. It is a religious festival in some countries but a trick-or-treat night in the United States, when small children in costume roam through their neighborhoods to solicit candy or cookies.
The flowers for October are the calendula and the cosmos. The birthstones are the opal and the tourmaline."

Birthday of John Keats (October 31, 1795-February 23, 1821). English poet trained as a surgeon but turned to poetry. The Eve of St. Agnes and other poems assure him a permanent place in world literature. Keats, known as the "Poet's Poet," is buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome. Birthday of Juliett Gordon Low (October 31, 1860-January 17, 1927). American youth leader and founder of the Girl Scouts in America.
Birthday of Sir George Hubert Wilkins (October 31, 1888-Nov. 30/Dec. 1, 1958). Australian polar explorer; the first to fly an airplane in the Antarctic and to fly over both polor regions. Nevada Admission Day, a legal holiday, celebrating Nevada's admission to the Union on October 31, 1864, as the thirty-sixth state.
Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, or Beggars' Night, a festival for children, known in the United States as Trick-or-Treat night, when costumed youngsters roam their neighborhoods with open bags for treats and with soap for the windows of their absent or ungiving neighbors. National Magic Day, honoring the skills of magicians and commemorating the death of the great magician Harry Houdini on October 31, 1926.
Reformation Day, commemorating Luther's singing of the theses. The Sunday preceding October 31 is usually observed as Reformation Sunday in Lutheran churches. Called "Luther's Theses Day" in some parts of Germany in memory of October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses in Wittenberg. UNICEF Day, a day set aside by presidential proclamation in the United States and observed in many nations for the the purpose of aiding the United Nations International Children's Fund.
Youth Honor Day, observed in Iowa and in Massachusetts to honor young people.

Gregory R. W. Anniversaries and Holidays
American Library Association; Chicago; 1975; p. 114-124.

Encarta Online

"Halloween, name applied to the evening of October 31, which precedes the Christian feast of All Saints' Day. Halloween traditions are thought to have originated among ancient Druids, who believed that evil spirits were active on that evening. Ancient Celts observed Halloween as the last evening of the year and believed that during it the spirits of the dead revisited their earthly homes. After the Romans conqured ancient Britain about 55 BC, they added features of a Roman harvest festival to Halloween. The concept of ghost and witches is still common to all Halloween observances."

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