• It’s not the Great Pumpkin, but for Halloween tale try the Vatican curse

    It’s not the Great Pumpkin, but for Halloween tale try the Vatican curse

    • Oct 31, 2017

    Halloween in the United States may be all about candy and scary costumes, but for Italians the dead are no joke. Crux traces back to an ancient curse, buried beneath the walls and ruins of the Vatican in the crypt of St. Peter’s, where a series of unexpected deaths spooked popes and the entire city of Rome for centuries.

  • Little-known facts about how Halloween came to be

    Little-known facts about how Halloween came to be

    • Oct 26, 2017

    Many practices associated with Halloween have origins in the pre-Christian, or pagan, religion of the Celts, the original inhabitants of the British Isles, as well as parts of France and Spain. Because the Celtic harvest festival Samhain led into the cold, fruitless and dark days of winter, the feast was also an opportunity to contemplate death and to remember those who had gone before.

  • Irish folklife expert says Halloween traditions began in Ireland

    Irish folklife expert says Halloween traditions began in Ireland

    • Oct 19, 2017

    Father John McHale of Ireland says he never heard of evil spirits being around on Halloween night growing up, noting how the U.S. has influenced the holiday in Ireland. “What I did hear related to the souls of the family that needed prayer, because of the strong belief in purgatory and a belief in the power of indulgences to set them free from purgatory. You had that duty to make sure that you prayed for the souls of the dead on Nov. 2.”

  • Of gremlins and greatness

    • Oct 31, 2014

    Tonight is All Hallow’s Eve, and to enter it with a flashlight or a lantern as something or someone other than oneself is to take part in the oldest and probably best loved holiday in the world. Pumpkins decorate doorsteps. Webbing drapes doorways. For a brief, magical pause, things aren’t