Halloween, the Legend of Stingy Jack, and a Blue Moon

HalloweenBy Alexandria Martinez

Ahh, Halloween. I love Halloween. I can’t really decide which is my favorite holiday… Halloween? Or Christmas? All I know is they both give me really good feelings that I just can’t explain. 🙂

Halloween Traditions

The tradition of Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Did you know? One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween. Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into black cats.

We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred (it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe). And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt. In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes.

The Legend Of Stingy Jack

According to the legend, Stingy Jack was a miserable and upset drunken who lived in Ireland long ago. At night, he was drunk and wandering through the countryside when he came upon a body on his path. The body had an eerie grimace on its face, turned out to be Satan. Jack realized somberly this was his end; Satan had finally come to collect his malevolent soul. So Jack made a last request: he asked Satan to let him drink ale before he departed to Hades. Finding no reason not to acquiesce the request, Satan took Jack to the local pub and supplied him with many alcoholic beverages. Upon quenching his thirst, Jack asked Satan to pay the tab on the ale, much to Satan’s surprise. Jack convinced Satan to metamorphose into a silver coin with which to pay the bartender. Satan did so, impressed upon by Jack’s unyielding nefarious tactics. Shrewdly, Jack stuck the now Satan in the form of a coin into his pocket which also contained a crucifix. The crucifix’s presence kept Satan from escaping his form. In exchange for Satan’s freedom he had to spare Jack’s soul for ten years. Ten years later to the date when Jack originally struck his deal, he naturally found himself once again in Satan’s presence. As Satan prepared to take him to hell, Jack asked if he could have one apple to feed him as he was starving. Once again Satan had foolishly agreed to Jack’s request. As Satan climbed up the branches of the apple tree, Jack surrounded its trunk with many crucifixes. Satan was frustrated at the fact that he had been entrapped again, demanded his release. As Jack did before, he made a demand this time he asked that his soul never be taken by Satan into Hell. Satan to the demand agreed and was set free. Eventually the drinking took its toll on Jack, and passed away shortly. Jack was told by God that because of his sinful lifestyle of trickery, deceitfulness and drinking he was not allowed into the Gates of Heaven. Jack then went down to the Gates of Hell and begged for admission into Hell, Satan fulfilling his obligation to Jack that he could not take his soul. He pleaded that back on Earth it was nighttime, so the Devil gave him a lit ember. From that day on until eternity’s end, Jack is doomed to roam the world between the planes of good and evil, with only an ember inside a hollowed turnip (his favorite thing to eat whenever he could steal it) to light his way. There are many different versions of this tale. Others state that every year he finds himself taking residence inside of a Jack-O-Lantern somewhere in the world.

Halloween Blue Moon

This year on October 31st, 2020 there will be a full moon. A full and rare blue moon. The last time that a full moon was visible during Halloween for all U.S. time zones was 1944, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. The Halloween full moon will be a so-called “blue” moon because it’s the second full moon of the month. Usually months have only one full moon, but occasionally a second one sneaks in, NASA reports. We will also get an extra hour at 2 am because of Daylights Savings.

BIO: My name is Alexandria and I am a homeschooled teen from Oklahoma (Tornado Alley). I have been homeschooled for the past seven years. I spend my days playing basketball, reading, writing and studying psychology, as well as, true crime. I am the oldest of four kids and I have three preposterous but loveable younger brothers. I plan to graduate college and pursue a career in a field that involves both computer science and criminal justice. One of my favorite quotes; “One of the deep secrets in life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” – Lewis Carroll

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