October 31, 2013

5 Things you didn’t know about Halloween

Here in South Africa we aren't that big on Halloween, America’s second most commercial and popular holiday. Trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns and dressing up as the undead hasn’t caught on here as much as elsewhere in the world. Here are 5 things you perhaps didn't know about Halloween...

The word Halloween dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin

The word "Halloween" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening" from the Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before the day dedicated to remembering the dead including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
Dressing up on Halloween comes from the Celts
The Celts believed there was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal opened so spirits could get through. They wore costumes and masks during this time to ward off or confuse any evil spirits.
A full moon on Halloween is rare
Though a common image in horror movies with witches depicted flying across a full moon, the next full moon on Halloween won't occur until 2020. The most recent full moon on Halloween was back in 2001 and before that 1955.

Trick-or-treating has been around for a long time
Various forms of trick-or-treating have existed since Medieval times. In the past it was called "guising" or "souling" where children and poor adults went around in costumes begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers.

The practice of trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the 20th century, but died out during WW2 when sugar was rationed. After the end of the war, children's cartoons and radio programmes helped make the tradition of dressing up and asking for candy popular once again.

You should be carving a turnip
The carved pumpkins, known as jack-o-lanterns, were traditionally carried on All Hallows Eve to frighten evil spirits. In Ireland and Scotland, the turnip was originally used, but immigrants to North America used the pumpkin which was easier to find and softer and larger.

Do you celebrate Halloween?

October 23, 2013

National animals and flowers: fun country facts

What do a leek, lion and thistle have in common? They are each a country’s national flower or animal, either official or unofficial. Here are some more from around the world…

October 18, 2013

10 Fun Travel Facts

Impress your friends and fellow travellers with some random fun travel facts next time you are out and about. Perhaps these little tidbits will even come in handy on your next holiday…

October 10, 2013

Leprechauns and lochs: Visiting Ireland and Scotland Part 2

William Cook, owner of Sure African Imprint Travel in Pretoria, continues his UK adventure as he waves goodbye to the Irish leprechauns and heads to the lovely lochs of Scotland…

October 4, 2013

Leprechauns and lochs: Visiting Ireland and Scotland

Ireland, the land of myths and leprechauns, has been a place that William Cook, owner of Sure African Imprint Travel in Pretoria, has always wanted to visit. William’s dream was realised in September when he spent 2 weeks exploring Ireland and Scotland with his family. This is his story…