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Halloween, A Brief but Ancient History
The fun, sugar filled holiday that we celebrate today has ancient origins. It began with the Celts, a people who lived in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France 2,000 years ago. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. This new year marked the end of summer and harvest and the start of cold, dark winter, a time often associated with death. During this time it was believed that the boundaries separating the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred allowing spirits and ghosts to return to earth. On October 31st, their New Years Eve, the Celts celebrated Samhain (pronounced sow-in), a fire festival. To ward off evil spirits that may do them harm, they lit massive bonfires, made sacrifices to their deities in the form of crops and animals, and donned costumes in hopes of fooling said spirits. Druids and priests sought to channel these forces to make predictions and seek guidance from their gods to help get them through the winter. When the festival was over they re-lit their hearths with this sacred fire for protection throughout the winter.
Did you know?
Upwards of 165,000 white blazes mark the way along an approximately 2,190 mile trail that most Central Pennsylvanians know quite well. The Appalachian Trail. It takes about 165 days to complete; an average of 5 million steps. Almost 500,000 of those steps are through Pennsylvania.
229 Miles Through PA
The Appalachian Trail enters Pennsylvania in Waynesboro, near Franklin County, and travels 229 miles to The Delaware Water Gap where it enters New Jersey. It is the 4th longest section of the trail. The difficulty ratings in our state range from 1-9, 10 being the hardest. The elevation ranges from 320’ to 2080’ above sea level. It passes through Caledonia State Park, Michaux State Forest, Pine Grove Furnace State Park, and St. Anthony's Wilderness.