Halloween: Time to Celebrate Local Legends and Folklore

In the United States, most of us call the last day of October 'Halloween'. Our modern holiday is a rich mix of ethnic and religious traditions and beliefs, which began with the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and start of winter, and a good harvest could make the difference between life and death. During the festival, the Celts believed spirits were capable of traversing the barrier between the living and the dead. As a result, the festival became a symbol of life and death, and possessed a mystical element. Over the centuries many cultures have borrowed from this early tradition, and it has become steeped in spooky legend and lore. Romans honored their dead with a day called Feralia, near the end of October. Christians celebrated a pair of holidays called All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day on November First and Second, respectively. These holidays eventually melded together as one and were known as All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween as we know it today. In good Halloween tradition take a look at a newspaper clipping, housed in the ISU Folklore Archives, which tells the tale of a local legend.

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