Arago: Exhibits

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Halloween's Irish Roots

This spooky holiday wasn’t always a celebration of American consumerism. It began in Ireland as a Celtic New Year festival. With the transition from summer to winter, the Celts believed that the spirits of the dead infiltrated the world of the living. To protect themselves from such demons, people dressed in disguise and built a bonfire for warmth.

The appeal of concealed identity lives on, but now instead of wearing animal skins like the first Halloween celebrants, we like to dress up as pumpkins or pop culture icons. Going green in the face over your plummeting stocks? It’s nothing that The Incredible Hulk can’t handle.

30p Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland single

The 30-pence Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland stamp was issued March 1, 1994.