Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints.
Originally Halloween was a pagan festival, around the idea of linking the living with the dead, when contact became possible between the spirits and the physical world, and magical things were more likely to happen. Like most pagan festivals, long ago it was absorbed into the festivals of the expanding Christian church, and became associated with All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day, which eventually fell on November 1.
The celebration of Halloween survived most strongly in Ireland. It was an end of summer festival, and was often celebrated in each community with a bonfire to ward off the evil spirits. Children would go from door to door in disguise as creatures from the underworld to collect treats, mainly fruit, nuts and the like for the festivities. These were used for playing traditional games like eating an apple on a string or bobbing for apples and other gifts in a basin of water, without using your hands. Salt might be sprinkled on the visiting children to ward off evil spirits. Carving turnips as ghoulish faces to hold candles became a popular part of the festival, which has been adapted to carving pumpkins in America.
The day is often associated with the colours black and orange, and is strongly associated with symbols like the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HALLOWEEN?
When and where is it celebrated?
Is it a religious celebration?
What does the word 'Halloween' mean?
Name 2 typical games.
When did it become a dangerous celebration?Why?
How do people celebrate it today?