Find out some more about the traditional festival of Halloween.

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Halloween 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 Halloween.

The origins of the name

The festival of Halloween 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 1 November. It was called All Saints Day, or 'All Hallows', and 31 October was known as 'All Hallows' Eve', and then Halloween.

Halloween 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 Halloween game for children in the US, 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

Halloween 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 Halloween. 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 Halloween. Generally, the more unpleasant the animal, the stronger the Halloween 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 Halloween list.

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Hello, I'm Isabel.
I haven't celebrated Hallowe'en ever. However, I like it, for my birthday is the same day. To me, I think Hallowe'en is a mysterious festival, full of magic and excitement.
More and more people in my country celebrate the festival. Some are for business, and some for fun. However, I enjoy it from the bottom of my heart.

I'm Cuban traditions to celebrate is that the government imposes, only two years ago that held in U.S.. In Cuba there is not  this tradition. I really like everything that is of wins, elves, wizards, magic etc

Hello,
It is so interesting and get knowledge about Halloween. Well, my country doesn't celebrate it.
For me, I'm a little bit scare.
Here, the Chinese people celebrate similar with Halloween every four years one time.But they don't dress up the costume.The children doesn't ask for sweets. But they offered the fruits, meat,etc They make a small house,clothes, accessories,etc ..with the color papers and they burn them for the dead people.They believe that the dead people received them.
Thank you so much for the people who make this website.
 
 

Hello.l'm from Azerbaijan.l love halloween.This holiday is very interesting 

Hello I am from Albania 
We love Halloween. We celebrate it every year 

Hi!Im Anna.I think it's a lot of fun and it's cool.Me end my friend are celebration Hallowe'en.It so funy and it feel scary and good at the same time.:DD
Everybody shoud tru it<3

Hi i am from Venezuela, i like this History in my country not many people celebrate Halloween but is good for the children.

I   think hallowe en   is a fantastic day.I saw many move about hallowen day  
 

hello,i come from Thailand actually.  I wholy like all these listening,provided by British Council, and I like improving my skill in listening,but sometimes i need to hear that more than once to right exactly know the meaning without writing whole down. so i need advise to become expert in listening, i mean how to know the meaning whole those things in one listening time and answer all the questions correctly. ?
Could you mind giving any suggetion? Thanks.

Hello Xanaraz.Yeah, it's true but i love halloween.I want to wear witch costumes or other monsters costums.

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