Find out some more about the traditional festival of Hallowe'en.

Magazine - Hallowe'en

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Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en is a popular festival in many countries all over the world, and every year it seems to get bigger. It's getting dark earlier and it's starting to get cold. Christmas is still a long way away. We need something to cheer us up and take our minds off the fact that winter is nearly here. Find out some more about the traditional festival of Hallowe'en.

The origins of the name

The festival of Hallowe'en has its roots in Celtic and Roman traditions. Over 2,000 years ago the Celts in Britain, Ireland and parts of France celebrated Samhain to mark the beginning of winter. When the Romans invaded, they merged this with Feralia, their celebration of the passing of the dead. As Christianity spread, the Church tried to replace these pagan feasts with official Church holy days. One of these was November 1. It was called All Saints Day, or "All Hallows", and October 31 was known as "All Hallows' Eve", and then Hallowe'en.

Hallowe'en traditions

In the past there was a tradition called "souling". Poor people went around houses asking for food. In exchange, they promised to say prayers for the dead. People no longer go souling, but the habit has been transformed into a modern Hallowe'en game for children in America, who dress up as ghosts, witches and monsters and go around people's houses, asking for sweets. This game is called 'Trick or Treat’.

Witches

Hallowe'en wouldn't be fun without witches. Witches have always been part of popular folklore. Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" opens with three witches. A witch was someone - usually a woman - who had special powers and had dealings with the devil. The American town, Salem, in the state of Massachusetts, is famous for the "witchcraft trials", which took place there in 1692.

Pumpkins

The pumpkin has become a symbol of Hallowe'en. People empty a pumpkin, cut a face into the side, and put a candle inside to make a lamp. It's known as a Jack O'Lantern, from an Irish legend about a man called Jack, who made a deal with the devil.

Animals

Black cats, frogs, mice and spiders are just some of the animals associated with Hallowe'en. Generally, the more unpleasant the animal, the stronger the Hallowe'en connection. Nocturnal animals like bats are particular favourites, and if, as is the case with vampire bats, they like drinking blood, they are high on the Hallowe'en list.

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Hi, i am from Uruguay. Here we dont celebrate Halloween as a Official festive day but it is getting more popular year by year among youngs. I dont like it because of the dark spiritual meaning i belive it has.

Halloween is not a traditional festival in my country. But today, many young people celebrate for this. It is usually on 31th, October. When I was at university, Halloween was an anual event. The people alway drew in their face or their body something were relative to ghost, vampire, mummy and more.
I think I prefer 'Tet' holiday than others. It is a sring festival which presents for almost Asian's new year. In that holiday, I can return to my hometown, take a rest with family and eat some special food. Especially, although I am mature now, I still want to receive 'lucky money' from the olders. Also, I like going to temple to pray best wishes to my family in the first day of new year.

Hello everyone. I'm from Colombia. In my country we celebrates the halloween. Its a great nigth, the kids and the adults dress up the funniest costumes and go out to ask sweets at the malls, supermarkets and houses.
The childrens go with their costumes to the school or kinder garden.

Hi!! everyone, I'm form Spain. In Spain we don't celebrate Hallowe'en, but every year more people celebrate this popular festival. I think that Hallowe'en is a fantastic festival. Besides, people of all ages can enjoy to this festival, horror tales, costumes, pumpkins lanterns, sweets, games, parties, etc., i love it.

, horror tales, costumes, pumpkins lanterns, sweets, games, and parties, I love it

Hi everybody! I'm from Venezuela. It is not common in our country to celebrate Halloween, but there are a lot of people who likes to celebrate it. Most of all kids wearing costumes playing trick or treat.. also there are private parties to celebrate Halloween and disco clubs, restaurants and shops decorated with plastic pumpkins, spiders, bats and the colours of Halloween... the tradition is to celebrate during those days "all saints" and "all deaths".
In Venezuela there is a traditional festival celebrated six weeks after Holly Week, called "The Dancing Devils of Yare". It started during XVIII century and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It's very colourful and animated.

first of thanx for knwing me the true story about hallowe'en ..
i reside in mumbai its in india and from few years even here i can see the celebration of this festival ..
toking about indian fest so there are lots of festival to celebrate all over in india and m darn sure dat u vl get crazy while celebrating... within 1 month one festival is here to come called "sarvajanik ganesh utsav" this fest is about lord GANESH the sun of SHIVA....

Hello everybody

In my country there is also this tradition, in the past people went to graveyard to praying to their family deceaseds, but nowadays this is changing, in my oponion due to tv movies and american/english series that people watch, so that now children go to around the neighborhood calling to every doors and saying trick or treat by candys, and they have a lof of fun.

Regards

Carlos

Hello, every one
am from Sudan and my people do not celebrate Hallowen as Mr: yousif said we just celebrate Muslem days

hello
just i didn't understand what is that mean ?
" It's getting dark earlier and it's starting to get cold ,Christmas is still a long way away " in text !!!!!!

Hello abdulbaset-homs,

Around October/November time in the UK the winter is approaching, which means the days get shorter and the nights get longer - in other words, 'it's getting dark earlier'.  In addition, of course, the temperature falls so this is why the text says 'it's starting to get cold'.  However, it is still a month or more to the happy time of Christmas, so Halloween provides some fun and celebration before that.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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