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

Magazine - Hallowe'en


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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’.


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.


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.


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.

Task 1

Before you read

We suggest you do the vocabulary activity below before you read or listen. Then read and/or listen to the article and do the task to check your comprehension.






¿Day and night, light and darkness, passing of the death or getting the eternity? All human feelings are connected and from them we can get lots of wishes. Cheer us up is maybe the most important thing and for this  is very necessary to take our sadness and doubts away. Mainly if we regard death or eternity as facts of our faith it might determinate the way we celebrate our life like it were a true party. 

Hello,everyone,I am from China.And I am pursuing a bachelor in Zhejiang University.Last year I made a Pumpkin by myself to celebrate Halloween.

Hi ı am from turkey.ı wish to hallowen is celebrated in our country because it obviously seems so exciting.But our feasts are very enjoyable too.Maybe ı might go to US or England and the will celebrate the hallowen,wont ı?

In all candor,I hadn't no clue about what Halloween is before I listened to the full-of-vitility recording........
Although I Have got a hazy memory that I saw some guys being engaged by this celebration in an English training course,I did not concisely and fully comprehend what kind of festival is that.....NOW   I got it.
Thank you

hi everyone.I'm from albania.Tomorrow i will celebrate the halloween in school  with my friends.

hi i'm from albania  and i like halloween .tomorro we are goingt to celebrate halloweeen at school with friends

hi i'm from albania.we tomorrow will celebrate the halloween

Good article, I was really surprised to know the 'name' of famous Hellowe'en Pumpkin - Jack O'Lantern. Anyway in my country this fest actually hasn't widespread except of course leasure industry where you will find all sorts of specialized Hellowe'en  parties in the end of October for sure. To me personally, I'm going to make couple of treated pumpkins at home just for child's fun.

hello,I'm from sri lanka. I was curious to know what haloween is and this audio consists much information about it.  Sri lankans don't celebrate this festival. Instead of that we celebrate new year in Aprial.It's my favourite. All of our relatives get together and celebrate this.

Thanks for very good task on Halloween. Particularly interesting to listen to the origins and traditions of Halloween!