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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Before I listen the hallowe'en article, i did not realize about the meaning of hallowe'en festival. Because In My country we don't celebrate it. It sounds interesting, but since i knew basically comes from pagan festival, i don't want to join in the festival anymore... 

hi, chika! my name is syifa, and i'm also from indonesia. yes we don't celebrate it, but some people did. they just take trick or treat and stuff.. my friends did, but not a full ceremony..

Hi every one, I'm from Mexico and I just wanted to share with all of you gays, that in my country we have an ancient and rich tradition called "Día de los fieles difuntos" (November 1st and 2nd) in which we honor our relatives that has passed away. 

I'm from Brazil, here we celebrate Halloween, but its just at parties, and not for kids. We have a big festival call Carnival, we have the biggest carnival in the world. 

In Spain, we celebrate Halloween but also, we have other importan festival. San Isidro in Madrid, El Rocío in Sevilla or San Fermín in Pamplona.

we don't celebrate this festival but i do like this espacially the 'trick or treat' part =)
we celebrate Eid festival, its so much fun on Eid day.

I live in Muslim Country  so that  festival is not popular at my country.It does not comply with our traditions.Our people dont believe in existance of witches...However,In   costume party which   is really common  among teenagers is dress up like witches ,magician,ghost  and have a fun 

Hi,
In my country we didn't celebrate this festival. We celebrated only All Saints Day. A day to remember the persons of the family who had died. The families went to the cemeteries, with flowers and prayed  for them. But it's true lately Halloween fest is getting its place and suppose its popularity will increase more and more/little by little.

hi!
Hallowe'ne sounds like a very interesting festival I've just heard about it because it is not celebrated in India, but someday I would like to take part in it.....

Hi all,
In my country it's not very popular, but some groups celebrate it in night clubs, wearing a dress of witch. We call it witch day.
 

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