Halloween derives from an ancient Celtic festival called ‘ Samhain ’ <ul><li>The Celts celebrated their New Year's Eve on October 31st. </li></ul><ul><li>Every year, a festival called ‘Samhain’ (pronounced 'sow-in‘) marked the end of the "season of the sun" (Summer) and the beginning of the “season of darkness and cold" (Winter). </li></ul><ul><li>The beginning of the Celtic New Year was on November 1st. </li></ul>
Evil spirits <ul><li>The Celts believed that evil spirits came with the long hours of winter darkness. </li></ul><ul><li>They believed that on that night the barriers between our world and the spirit world were at their weakest and, therefore, spirits were most likely to be seen on earth. </li></ul>
Bonfires <ul><li>The Celts built bonfires to frighten the spirits away, and feasted and danced around the fires. The Halloween fires brought comfort to the souls in purgatory * and people prayed for them as they held burning straw up high. </li></ul><ul><li>*Purgatory is a place where the spirits of dead people are sent to suffer for their sins before they go to heaven. </li></ul><ul><li>The fires of Halloween burned the strongest in Scotland and Ireland, where Celtic influence was most pronounced, although they remained in some of the northern counties of England until the early years of the last century. </li></ul>
Goodwill conquers Evil <ul><li>The last night of October was transformed by the Church into the ‘ Vigil of All Saints’ or Halloween . </li></ul><ul><li>Christians believe that Goodwill always conquers Evil, and that Jesus, the light of the World, defeats all the fear of darkness. </li></ul>
So… why do they do what they do on Halloween Day?
<ul><li>Jack-o-lanterns - Pumpkin Lanterns </li></ul><ul><li>These are hollowed out pumpkins with a face cut into one side. People once carved out beets, potatoes and turnips to use as lanterns on Halloween. Nowadays they carve out pumpkins. </li></ul>According to an Irish legend, ‘jack-o-lanterns’ were named after a man named ‘Jack’, who could not enter heaven because he was a miser *. He could not enter hell either, because he had played jokes on the devil. So instead, he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. *If you say that someone is a miser, you disapprove of them because they seem to hate spending money, and they spend as little as possible.
Fire <ul><li>Fire was very important to the Celts as it was to all early people. In the old days people lit bonfires, to scare away evil spirits. They believed that light had power over darkness. In some places they used to jump over the fire to bring good luck. </li></ul><ul><li>Today, people light candles in pumpkin lanterns and then put them outside their homes to frighten away witches and ghosts. </li></ul>
Apple Bobbing (Duck-apple) <ul><li>The Roman festival for remembering the dead was also in October. During this time, the Romans remembered their goddess, Pomona. She was the goddess of the trees and fruits, and when the Romans came to Britain, they began to hold these two festivals on the same day as Samhain. Apple games probably became associated with Halloween because of this. </li></ul><ul><li>The British play the game ‘Bobbing for Apples’, in which apples are placed in a tub or a large basin of water. The contestants, sometimes blindfolded, must take one bite from one of the apples without using their hands. It is not permitted to edge the apple to the side of the bowl to get hold of it. </li></ul>
Dressing up <ul><li>The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. </li></ul><ul><li>People wore masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. </li></ul><ul><li>To keep ghosts away from their houses on Halloween, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease* the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter. </li></ul>*If you appease someone, you try to prevent them from being angry by giving them what they want.
Trick or Treat? <ul><li>Halloween was a time for making mischief*. </li></ul><ul><li>Many parts of England still recognise Halloween as ‘Mischief Night’, when children would knock on doors demanding a treat (‘Trick or Treat?’) and people would disguise themselves as witches, ghosts and skeletons, in order to obtain food and money from nervous householders. </li></ul>* Mischief is playing harmless games on people or doing things you are not supposed to do, specially when you are a child. ‘ My little cousin is always up to mischief!’
Fascinating Facts about Halloween <ul><li>Halloween is always celebrated on 31 October. </li></ul><ul><li>Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2,000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Halloween is also know by other names: All Hallows Eve All Hallowtide The Feast of the Dead The Day of the Dead </li></ul>
Fascinating Facts about Halloween <ul><li>About 99% of pumpkins sold are used as Jack O' Lanterns at Halloween. </li></ul><ul><li>The biggest pumpkin in the world weighed 1,446 pounds (about 656 Kg). This gigantic gourd was weighed in October 2004 at a pumpkin festival in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>The very first jack o' lantern was made out of hollowed out turnips. </li></ul><ul><li>Ringing a bell scares evil spirits away. </li></ul><ul><li>If you see a spider on this night, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you. </li></ul><ul><li>To meet a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night. </li></ul>