Pomona, goddess of candy

Did you know we have Pomona to thank for Halloween?

The ancient Celts celebrated their new year on Nov. 1, “when the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to mankind,” a Reuters story on Halloween explains. This was known as Samhain.

When the Romans invaded Gaul and Britain in the 1st century A.D., the Romans assimilated Samhain into their day for Pomona, their goddess of fruit. And this in turn was blended into the Catholic Church day of observance for saints, known as All Hollows Eve, then All Hallows Eve, then Halloween.

So Pomona played a part in the creation of Halloween, and also in one tradition of the holiday.

Says Reuters: “Pomona’s symbol is the apple which might explain the origin of bobbing for apples on Halloween.”

What about the origin of eating candy until you’re sick? I don’t know who to scapegoat for that.

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  • Judi Guizado

    I believe that would be the Great Pumpkin, of course! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go inspect my kids’ trick-or-treat bags for any chocolate bar wrappers that look suspicious, and then dispose of them properly. As a good mom, it’s my job.

    [Try not to gain too much weight disposing of them. -- DA]

  • Kristin McConnell

    I speak Irish and am of Irish heritage, so it’s important to me to add this: Please make sure your readers know that the Celtic celebration of Samhain is NOT the wiccan celebration of the similar name. The words are pronounced differently and “Samhain,” itself, means “November” as in “Mi na Samhain” (Month of November). Thanks! :)