Autumn is not only a wonderful time of year with crunchy, colorful leaves and cooler weather, but it is also a great time to learn some new autumn facts for kids. When you think of autumn, you probably think of cooler weather, going back to school, Halloween and falling leaves, but what else do you know about the season?
Autumn is one of four seasons that occurs from roughly September 21 through December 21. It is more commonly known as "fall" because the leaves fall off of deciduous trees during the season. Here are some more autumn facts for kids.
Think you know everything there is to know about leaves? You may be surprised to learn the following facts:
Leaves require sunlight, water, chlorophyll and carbon dioxide to make food for themselves.
As winter approaches, leaves make a coating for themselves which blocks their water source; in the absence of water, the leaves no longer produce chlorophyll (chlorophyll is what makes leaves green).
When the leaves turn colors in the fall, they actually are returning to their normal colors. During the summer months, the chlorophyll present in the leaves causes the leaves to turn green, blocking the leaves' actual colors.
Along with chlorophyll, leaves contain two other chemicals that cause coloring. The first is called xanthophyll, which is yellow in color. The other is carotene, which is orange in color.
Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.
Once the leaves have turned brown, they are dead and no longer receive any nutrients.
Halloween is a big part of autumn. Here are some fun facts about Halloween:
The traditional Halloween colors of orange and black come from two different sources. First, orange is the color of autumn leaves and pumpkins, which have come to symbolize Halloween. Black is the color of darkness and mystery, which matches the theme of ghosts and other spooky creatures at Halloween.
There is no scientific proof that ghosts exist; however, there is a field of study called parapsychology that is dedicated to studying spooky phenomena like ghosts and psychic powers. Parapsychologists use scientific method to explore strange phenomena and learn more about things like ghosts.
Halloween was originally a pagan holiday to honor the dead, and the holiday was known as All Hallows Eve. The date, October 31, is the last day of the Celtic calendar.
Wearing masks on Halloween is an ancient Celtic tradition. Ancient Celts believed that ghosts roamed on Halloween, and they wore masks to hide from the spirits.
Vampire folklore comes from Romania. Romanians in the 18th century believed that the dead could rise after death by suicide or other suspicious circumstances and feed on the blood of the living.
Another holiday associated with autumn is Thanksgiving. Here are some facts about Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. In Canada it is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
The first pilgrims arrived in North America in December of 1620.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth in the fall of 1621.
The Native American tribe invited to the first Thanksgiving dinner were the Wampanoag Indians.
The first Thanksgiving feast lasted for three full days.
Thanksgiving was not recognized as an official holiday until 1941, when Congress decided that the holiday should be observed officially on the fourth Thursday in November every single year. The date was chosen by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to make the Christmas shopping season longer to aid in the country's financial recovery from the Great Depression. Prior to the date being set in 1941, it was up to the president to set the date for Thanksgiving each year.