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Halloween

  Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today.

  It all began with the Celts more then 2,000 years ago. They lived in the area of modern United Kingdom, Ireland and north France. The Celtic year consisted of two parts – "light half” (it means summer) and "dark half” (it means winter).

  On October 31st ancient Celts celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of "dark half” of a year. The festival called Samhain (pronounced "sah-win") and it lasted not one night. The night to November 1st was the time "between years”, it considered to be a magic time when the border between this world and spirit world became very thin and the ghosts of the dead returned to the earth. People put on heads and skins of animals to be like spirits and not to fall prey. The villagers gathered together and Druids lit huge bonfire to get the ghosts of the dead back to the spirit world. Other fires were put out and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire.

  The Catholic Church’s influences grew in Europe and it disabled the pagan rituals like Samhain.

    In the 7th century, the Vatican began to merge it with a church holiday. November 1st was called "All Saints Day”. "All Saints Day” was known then as "Hallowmas”. Hallow means holy or saintly, so the translation is "mass of the saints”. The night before October 31 was "All Hallows’ Eve” which transformed into "Halloween”.

  The holiday came to America with Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of the 1840’s.

  Now Halloween is a holiday celebrated at night of October 31st. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting  "haunted houses" and making jack-o-lanterns.

  Jack-o-lantern is one of the main symbols of Halloween. It is a lamp carved from a pumpkin like head with light inside.

  Trick-or-treating is an activity for children on or around Halloween. Children  wear different  costumes and go from house to house, asking for treats such as a candy or sometimes money, with the question "Trick or treat?". The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween.

  Halloween costumes traditionally represent ghosts, skeletons, witches, devils, werewolves and night animals like bats, cats, wolves etc.

     There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. One common game is dunking or apple bobbing, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin.

     So now Halloween is a patchwork holiday and one more occasion to meet friends and spend great time together.

   

             1919                                 2010

 

Category: ISSUE #1 | Added by: Guzeliya (20-Nov-2010) | Author: Artem Chekmarev
Views: 423 | Tags: costumes, pumpkin, Bonfire, Halloween, traditions, Cards, Celebration, trick-or-treat | Rating: 5.0/2
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