Halloween is an observance celebrated on the night of October 31th, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most common in the United States, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and sometimes in Australia and New Zealand. Irish, Scots and other immigrants broughtolder versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.
The Halloween day is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), theCeltic New year
The story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.
SymbolsHalloween's theme is spooky or scary things particularly involving death, magic, or mythical monsters. Commonly-associated Halloween characters include ghosts, witches, bats, black cats, spiders, zombies, skeletons and demons, as well as certain fictional figures like Dracula and Franksteins monster. Homes are often decorated with these symbols around Halloween.
Black and orange are the traditionalcolors of Halloween. In modern Halloween images and products, purple, green, and red are also prominent.
Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also reflected in symbols of Halloween.
The jack o lantern, a carved vegetable lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols. In Britain and Ireland, a turnip was and sometimes still is used, butimmigrants to America quickly adopted the pumpkin because it was more readily available; additionally, it is much larger and easier to carve. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their home's doorstep after dark. The practice was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits or monsters.
Trick or treating
The main eventof modern US-style Halloween is trick or treating, in which children dress up in costume disguises and go door-to-door in their neighborhood, ringing each doorbell and yelling "trick or treat!" . This is a watered-down version of the older tradition of guising in Ireleand and Scotland . The occupants of the house (who might themselves dress in a scary costume) will then hand out small candies,miniature chocolate bars or other treats. Some American homes will use sound effects and fog machines to help set a spooky mood. Other house decoration themes (that are less scary) are used to entertain younger visitors. Children can often accumulate many treats on Halloween night, filling up entire pillow cases or shopping bags.
In Ireleand, great bonfires were lit throughout the breadth of theland. Young children in their guises were gladly received by the neighbors with some 'fruit, apples and nuts' for the 'Halloween Party', whilst older male siblings played innocent pranks on bewildered victims.
In Scotland, children or guisers are more likely to recite "The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Hallowe'en" instead of "trick or treat!". They visit neighbours in groups...