Happy Halloween 2011!
Halloween is celebrated all over the world by people of all ages. It is known as a night of excitement and dressing up, looking as ‘Evil’ as you can and including fun and games for all the family. Games include; Apple Bobbing, Carving out Jack – O’- Lanterns, telling scary stories, costume parties, watching horror movies and playing pranks on others.
Young children walk around streets and knock on people’s doors asking the homeowners ‘Trick or treat?’ Most people say ‘Treat’ and give the children sweets or money and then they move on to the next house. In some places, kids take Halloween very seriously and if the homeowner ignores them and does not answer their doors, kids tend to play pranks including; egg pelting and toilet roll throwing around the house. However, Halloween means so much more than eating sweets and playing games.
What is the meaning of Halloween and where does it originate from?
Halloween has been adapted and changed to fit the times however; it can mostly be compared with the Celtic festival of Samhain. The root of this word comes from the Old Irish Samuin which means “summer’s end”. Which is appropriate as Halloween falls on the 31st October 2011 which is technically the end of summer. In addition to this there was also a feeling that this time was where the supernatural and the physical worlds were at its closest and this was the time when magical things would happen. Bonfires would be used at that time in order to warn off spirits and horrible mystical creatures. The bonfires would use the help of the gods using animal and even human sacrifices.
Hallowtide and Halloween was under great threat in England during the reformation. Once Guy Fawkes Night became well-known, this overshadowed Halloween but only in England as In Ireland and Scotland, they had been celebrating Samhain since the middle ages. It slowly became accepted into modern society and by the first decade of the 20th Century it was being celebrated by everyone of all ages, all over the world.
The Jack – o’ –Lanterns were created and derived from the original carvings of turnips which were made to represent the souls trapped in purgatory. The turnip was used in Ireland however, as the immigrants moved over to America, they left behind the turnips and used the Native pumpkin due to the fact that it was readily available. This American tradition of carving pumpkins was not directly associated with Halloween but with the time of the harvest.
In modern times, children all over the world go ‘trick or treating’ however, in Scotland and Ireland, the act of guising still exists to this day. This is where, in order to earn their treat they need to sing a song or tell and haunting story, something which means the children must work for their treat.
It is such a great tradition that will be followed forever.
Have a Happy Halloween, and make sure you sleep with one eye open.