The Origins of Halloween
Halloween goes back to pagan times. It is based on the Celtic feast for the dead called Samhain- the Lord of Death. Halloween was the eve of the Celtic New Year. It began on the evening of 31, October and continued until the next day. The Celts believed that ghosts, witches, black cats and evil spirits returned to earth on that night. Ghosts were thought to be the souls of the dead. People were afraid of evil spirits so they made bonfires to frighten them away. They also put on animal skins and masks to protect themselves. If the bonfire went out, they all ran home as fast as they could because they thought that the devil would catch the last person.
The colours of Halloween- orange and black- are of Celtic origin, too.
Orange was the colour of the harvest and black was the colour of winter and long dark nights.
During Christian times the date became known as All Hallows’ Eve, the evening of hallows (saints). Later it became Halloween. In the 8th century the Church decided to call 1, November All Saints’ Day. It was the time to pray for the dead and honour the saints.
Halloween Celebrations Today
On Halloween children enjoy wearing different scary costumes. They dress up like witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters, vampires or aliens. In the evening they go from house to house and ring the bell. When the door opens they shout “trick-or-treat?” and people give them some sweets or money. If they don’t get a treat, they play tricks on the house and its owners. The tradition of “trick or treating” originated in Ireland and was brought to the USA in the 19th century.
Another popular tradition is to make jack-o’-lanterns. A jack-o’-lantern is a carved out pumpkin with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. It has a candle inside which gives light. Some people claim that candle flames that flicker on October,31 touched by the spirits of the dead. A lot of schools organize Halloween parties and different games. One of them is called “bobbing for apples”.
Everybody must try to take an apple out of the water with teeth only. It is difficult because the apples float in the bowl of water and it is not allowed to use hands!Some adults also organize evening parties. They eat apples, nuts and sweets, and tell spine- chilling stories or listen to music.
Nowadays Halloween is a very happy holiday and it is popular not only in the USA and Great Britain but also in many other countries.
News prepared by Karolina Mietelska from 1g.
On 31st November our school organised a Halloween disguise competition. The student in the best costume was the winner. One of the students was Zosia Kandora from 3g (photos taken by Karol Baryła from 1f)
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