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PomonaJeanRanc

Portrait of a lady as Pomona by Jean Ranc (1674-1735).

Pomona was the name of a Roman goddess and a festival held in her honor in early November which probably influenced the development of the modern Halloween.

The goddess Pomona was associated with abundance, the harvest and fruit, especially apples and nuts. Her husband was the god Vertumnus who was associated with the change of seasons.

The festival of Pomona was held around November 1. It is likely that during the festival Romans thanked the gods of water and fire for not destroying their crops and offerings of nuts and apples were made.

It has been suggested that, due to centuries of Romans and Celts living side by side in the areas that are now England, Wales and France, aspects of the festival of Pomona influenced the Celtic Samhain celebration and led to the formation of the modern holiday of Halloween. Many Halloween fortune-telling traditions involve nuts or apples, apple cider is strongly associated with the holiday in North America and apple bobbing remains a popular game at Halloween parties.

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