Halloween and All Hallows

October 31 is when many people in the world and especially those in the anglo-saxon countries celebrate Halloween. Halloween or Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve is a yearly celebration that precedes All Hallows (or All Saints) (November 1). 


The word HALLOWEEN comes from 16th century and is a Scottish variant of ALL HALLOWS' EVEN (evening), that is, the night before ALL HALLOWS' DAY.

Origins

The celebration of Halloween is thought to have pagan roots. It is very often linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which is Old Irish for 'summer's end'. Samhain was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar. It was held on or about October 31. Samhain symbolized the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. In much of the Gaelic world bonfires were lit and there were many rituals involved. 

People saw Samhain as the moment when the door to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead to come into our world. The souls of the dead were believed to be revisiting their homes on that day. People prepared feasts and set a place at the table for the dead. However, harmful spirits were also believed to be active on Samhain. People tried to ward off those harmful spirits and this is supposed to be the origin of today's Halloween customs. Before the 20th century, wearing costumes at Samhain was done in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Wearing costumes served as the way to hide from the evil spirits. In Ireland people went about before nightfall collecting for Samhain feasts and often they wore costumes. This is probably the origin of the modern TRICK-OR-TREAT custom.



Most probably the tradition of making Jack-O'-Lanterns at Halloween also comes from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. In the 19th century turnip lanterns with faces carved into them were prepared in parts of Ireland and Scotland. Those lanterns were used to light the way outside at night or to protect against evil spirits. 


Christian origins or influence?

Some people believe that Halloween was influenced by the Christian ALL SAINTS' DAY on November 1 and ALL SOULS' DAY on November 2. All Saints was introduced in 609 and was originally celebrated on May 13. In 835 Pope Gregory IV switched All Saints to November 1 (the same day as Samhain). All Saints involved such traditions as bell ringing for the souls in purgatory and 'souling' which was a custom of baking and sharing soul cakes- suggested to be the origin of TRICK-OR-TREATING. Children would go door-to-door on All Saints collecting soul cakes. Shakespeare mentions this practice in The Two Gentlemen of Verona where one of the characters accuses the other one of "pulling like a beggar at Hallowmas". 


Halloween in America

In the 18th and 19th century there was no tradition of Halloween on the new land. Puritans of New England opposed Halloween strongly and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century that it was brought to North America. Gradually Halloween was assimilated into mainstream society and by the middle of the 20th century it was celebrated by people of all backgrounds.

Glossary:

precedes - poprzedza
origins - pochodzenie
pagan roots - pogańskie korzenie
medieval - średniowieczne
It was held - było organizowane
harvest season - sezon żniw/zbierania plonów
bonfire - ognisko
lit - forma przeszła od light, czyli świecić lub zapalać
the Otherworld - zaświaty
revisit - odwiedzić ponownie, nachodzić
feasts - uczty
harmful spirits/evil spirits - złe duchy
ward off - nie dopuszczać
customs - zwyczaje, tradycje
trick-or-treat - cukierek czy psikus
turnip - rzepa
carved - wycięte
influence - wpływ
switched - zamienił, przesunął
purgatory - czyścieć
gradually - stopniowo
people of all backgrounds - ludzie każdego pochodzenia


Lit pumpkins
Symbols of Halloween

Pumpkin
Originally it was turnip but when Irish and Scottish immigrants came to America they started using the native pumpkin. People carve faces in pumpkins and place candles inside.





How to carve faces into a pumpkin:

You need a newspaper, a carving knife and of course- a pumpkin.


  1. Cover your table with newspaper or some type of plastic covering. First cut apart trash bags, and use masking tape to secure them to the table. Then cover the garbage bags with newspaper. Put some newspaper on the floor. Carving pumpkins can be messy!
  2. Use a permanent marker to draw a face on your pumpkin. This will be the face you carve. You can also draw a design around the stem of the pumpkin, which you will cut. This becomes your lid.
  3. Cut on the line around the stem and take off the top of the pumpkin. Here's the messy part. Use the spoon and/or your hands to take out all the guts and seeds from the pumpkin. It should be CLEAN in the inside. Sometimes, it helps to scrape the inside walls of the pumpkin with your spoon to get it extra clean.
  4. Once your pumpkin is clean, you are ready to carve the face. Use the lines you already drew to cut out a face on the pumpkin.
  5. Put a candle in the bottom of the carved pumpkin, and light it. Put the lid on, turn off the lights, and see your jack-o'-lantern glow!



Trick-or-Treating
Traditional Games and Activities:

Trick-or-treating 
Something for kids. They go door-to-door wearing costumes and asking for treats such as candy. They ask the houseowner: 'Trick or treat?' and trick is a mischief they can perform on the houseowner if no treat is given. In Scotland and Ireland it's called guising and children disguised in costumes go from door to door for food or coins. 


Apple bobbing
Apple bobbing (or 'dooking' in Scotland)
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.

Hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings
These must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string. As a result participants have increadibly sticky faces.

Telling ghost stories and watching horror films




Food

Apples
Candy apples
Halloween comes in the wake of apple harvest and candy apples, caramel or toffee apples are a very common Halloween treat. 

Barmbrack
A light fruitcake into which a ring or a coin is placed before baking. It is said that the person who finds the ring in the cake will find their true love in the ensuing year.

Pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, roasted pumpkin seeds

Barmbrack













Extras:

You can watch a nice video about Halloween   Here 

A part of a funny Halloween episode of Desperate Housewives (Danielle is having a baby):



A Halloween song for kids:



And Michael Jackson's Thriller which is a little spooky:



Lyrics:

It's close to midnight
something evil's lurkin' in the dark
under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
As horror looks you right between the eyes
You're paralyzed

'Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
And no one's gonna save you
From the beast about to strike
You know it's thriller
Thriller night
You're fighting for your life
Inside a killer
Thriller tonight, yeah

You hear the door slam
And realize there's nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand
And wonder if you'll ever see the sun
You close your eyes
And hope that this is just imagination
Girl, but all the while
You hear a creature creepin' up behind
You're outta time

'Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
There ain't no second chance
to fight the thing with the forty eyes, girl
(Thriller)
(Thriller night)
You're fighting for your life
Inside a killer
Thriller tonight

Night creatures crawl
In the depths up to haunt in their masquerade
There's no escaping the jaws of the alien this time
(They're widen open)
Is the end of yout life 

They're out to get you
There's zombies in on every side
They will possess you
Unless you change that number on your dial
Now is the time
For you and I to cuddle close together, yeah
All through the night
I'll save you from the terror on the screen
I'll make you see

That this is thriller
Thriller night
'Cause I can thrill you more
Than any ghost would ever dare try
(Thriller)
(Thriller night)
So let me hold you tight
And share a
killer, diller, chiller
Thriller here tonight

'Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
Girl, I can thrill you more
Than any ghost would ever dare try
(Thriller)
(Thriller night)
So let me hold you tight
And share a
(killer, thriller)

I'm gonna get you tonight

[Rap]
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'all's neighborhood
And those whoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell

I'm gonna thrill you tonight
(Thriller, thriller)
I'm gonna thrill you tonight
(Thriller night, thriller)
I'm gonna thrill you tonight
Ooh, babe, I'm gonna thrill you tonight
Thriller night, babe

[Rap]
The foulest stench's in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
for no mere mortal can resist
the evil of the thriller

(Evil laugh)

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