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October 29, 2011

This weekend, We’ll be celebrating Halloween parties in many cities around the World. This curious celebration is relatively new in our country because of the big influence we have from the USA. But the history of Halloween doesn’t start exactly in the USA. If We explore the origins of Halloween we find that there was a Gaelic harvest festival on October31-November 1 called Samhain. It was popularised as the “Celtic New Year”. The date of Samhain was associated with the Catholic All Saints Day from at least the 8th century, and both, the secular Gaelic and the Catholic liturgical festival have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween.

The word Halloween represents a Scottish variant of All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.

Irish immigrants passed the tradition to North America during the Great Irish Famine in 1840. The Turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin. The American tradition of carving pumpkins was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

Nowadays, commonly people includes activities such as trick-or-treating, where children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, “Trick or treat?”, attending customs parties, where traditionally the customs are supernatural figures such as monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils, carving jack-o’-lanterns (pumpkins), visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories or watching horror films.

Don’t you have your flyer to a Halloween party yet? Have you thought what are you going to custom in? Any excuse is good to be with your friends or your family to enjoy and have fun. Stores and shopping centres have found a new business with this holiday.

Death is still a very lively business.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 11:13 pm

    Rather than a sad occasion, the All Saints’ Day has become a joyous event in Spain, especially All Hallows’ Even. Why not? Pagan o religious, this celebration is common in many countries. However in some places they are losing the old traditions and introducing new ones. For instance, in Catalonia people miss celebrating this day with sweet potato, pastry (marzipan with pine nuts) and chestnuts! Children prefer to have fun with Hallowen rather than eating chestnuts while playing the bells of the church, and if this day is a bank holiday, the better!

  2. October 29, 2011 11:27 pm

    The picture is very funny indeed!

  3. Cynthia permalink
    October 30, 2011 12:03 pm

    This is the way I live Halloween last year in Derry (North Ireland) and I found myself enjoying more than a child!
    It can’t be explain in a video or photos…You have to live it!
    First of all the decorations. ALL the houses are decorated both in the inside and in the outside: you can see candle pumpkins, bats, spiders…everywhere! Kids knock doors saying the famous “Trick or treat?” and you have to, yes I’ve said HAVE TO, give them some sweets; if you won’t do it probably you’ll be spray (and believe me they’ll do it)
    Then people’s dresses. Amazing!!!You can see from the babies to the eldery wearing scary dresses. In my opinion, this is what makes the difference with us: no matter how old you are! Other thing that impressed me a lot is that sometimes they spend two or three months doing its costumes: witches, monsters, skeletons…incredible!
    Late in the evening, they make a parade like the one in the video. As you can see this is like a Carnival parade but based on terror themes. Different groups choose one topic and make a kind of banner (big skeleton, giant scary face…) and they carry it with them along the parade. Besides each group plays its music which can be horror music or not. During the way a judge valued all groups and at the end of the parade they proclaim a winner!
    After all this a firework display lights the dark night and now the party starts into the pubs!

  4. Lorena Gallego permalink
    October 30, 2011 1:57 pm

    In my family (who comes from Andalucia) we always make a family meeting on 1st of november evening in that we eat nougat, roast chestnuts and drink “mistela” (a kind of sweet wine). It is so enjoyable… even for children.

    Have you got some different traditions like this one in other places? Apart from the one Susana told us. I’ve heard that in countries like Mexico there are curious traditions about the “All Saint’s day”.

    Halloween is very funny but there are a lot of things we can do in this day. In fact, I’m going to buy my shiny and smooth chestnuts right now…yum, yum, delicious!!

  5. Laura permalink
    October 30, 2011 6:59 pm

    I had an English teacher who was Irish, and she showed us many things about Halloween. Even she told us they always cook a special dish for Halloween night. It’s called Colcannon. It’s made with potatos, and you’ve to add a ring, a thimble, a coin and a button. All this things have a special meaning, it looks like an irish “roscón”

  6. Alina Cabrita permalink
    October 31, 2011 3:10 am

    Yes, Samhain is the Celtic festival’s largest pagan period that dominated Europe until its conversion to Christianity, in celebrating the end of the harvest season and was considered as the “Celtic New Year,” which began with the dark season. Talking with my husband about Halloween he told me when he was a child he played carvering pupmkins, I didn’t believe him, but, curiously that night in Noticias Cuatro, I heard that children in Galicia are trying to rescue this tradition. Rafael López Loureiro, a Cedeira schoolteacher (A Coruña) is responsible for rediscovering this tradition and to ensure that in all Galicia existed until less than thirty years. He also reported the tradition of pumpkin and its relationship with the Samhain at schools and associations of any type, and it is causing that more and more places in Galicia where this festival is celebrated without the influence of the U.S. Something like “Made in Spain”. Also his work on this tradition has called the attention of anthropologists..

  7. cochando permalink
    November 1, 2011 3:16 pm

    I still remember how scared I was on the “Eve of all hallows” every year. My eldest brother always told my sisters and me all kind of stories about dead people, evil spirits and a wide range of terrifying characters in order to frighten us. Bedtime was always a really torture and nobody wanted to sleep because we thought that something awful was going to happen. Then, my mother lighted some candles as a reminder of all those who passed away in the family. Believe me, as a child, that night was the worst in the year for all my sisters and me.
    Fortunately for children, nowadays things have changed and there are more ways to celebrate it in some different and funny ways.

  8. marisa permalink
    November 2, 2011 12:23 am

    So interesting to read both the post and the comments. I feel envious of you, Cynthia. I’ve never seen a Halloween parade. They don’t celebrate it that much in Scotaland, or at least not as much when I was there. Only the kids getting fancy dresses and sweets etc.

  9. November 2, 2011 1:31 am

    Cynthia… where you there with FCT Europe working in North West INdependent Hospital in Ballykelly????? I ask you that because I was there and when I told to the nurses that I was from valencia most of them told me that a girl from valencia called like you was there in winter! was it you???

  10. Cynthia permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:28 pm

    I can’t believe it!! Yes, it was me Noe!!!!!! Lovely staff in NWIH!!!!! No words to describe them!!! I hope you had th same wonderful days like the ones I spent there!!!

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