October, 31th. This day people celebrate one of the most mystical and ancient holidays in the world. This holiday is Halloween.
Until now there is no unambiguous version of this unique holiday appearance. But many researchers are of the opinion that the origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celts. They lived in Ireland and Scotland.
For many centuries they believed that spirits come back from the world of the death on the Samhain – the end of the summer – October, 31th.
All the barriers between the physical and supernatural worlds are eliminated, and the gates are opened between them for one night.
Traditionally, this day marked the end of harvest. Long sunny summer days were getting shorter and dark winter nights were getting longer. Living conditions became more difficult.
This night people wore costumes in order to be like evil spirits and to scare them off. Then they kindled the fire and sacrificed at the stake parts of crops and animals in order to cajole gods and to defend themselves of different troubles. This ancient tradition affected on the emergence and development of modern customs and traditions. One of them is so-called trick-or-treating.
Soon, Christianity replaced the Druids from Britain territory and became the dominant religion.
In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV decided to adopt November 1 as All Hallows day. He wished to divert the English people from the pagan customs. This day was supposed to glorify the saints and martyrs. The night before All Hallows day was called All Hallow’s Eve. Later the name was transformed to “Hallowe’en” and finally it became “Halloween”.
Later November 2 became the All Souls Day - when all the dead (not only saints) were commemorated. However, the tradition was preserved in people memory.
So the holiday intertwined Celtic tradition honoring the evil spirits and Christian - worship of all the saints.
Today the ancient pagan festival is just a set of funny fascinating traditions. So do not miss this rare chance to feel like a witch, vampire or demon.
In the USA this holiday become popular because of mass immigration of Irish and Scots to the United States. Its popularity was growing. At the end of the XIX century, people tried to turn it into a public holiday. And it was successfully done. Finally in the 50th Halloween became positioned as the only children's festival. But adults continue to celebrate it too.
Nowadays Halloween is one of the most popular and favorite holiday in the United states of America. Small and adults celebrate it with joy. Here its modern history began and here this holiday become well-known all over the world. In the USA it became a national holiday. Movies and cartoons have added popularity. After a while, Halloween has become commercial. Someone likes it, someone afraid it and someone just do not care. But one thing is for sure – its popularity grows every year.
In recent years, the holiday thoroughly returned to Europe. It is also popular in some Asian countries.
This period is special because markets, houses, streets and people change their usual daily view for a while and immerse into magic and mystery of this day.
Costumes, special make-up, nail art, decoration of the house, decoration of the street, special food and costume parties. That’s modern Halloween.
Decoration of the house gives freedom to your imagination.
People usually decorate houses with artificial cobwebs, paper skeletons, bats, handmade ghosts, skulls, flashlights, candles and pumpkins, pumpkins are everywhere!
It should be added that the most popular colors of Halloween are black, orange and yellow.
The pumpkin has almost become a symbol of Halloween.
According to the legend, the pumpkin lantern called Jack-o-lantern will protect your home of evil spirits and other bad entities, if you put it at the threshold of the house.
Jack-o-lantern is the most popular holiday attribute. It’s a pumpkin with carved funny or scary face.
Festive lanterns are named in honor of blacksmith Jack. Legend says that once he could cheat the devil but was cursed for this. The light of burning piece of coal in the pumpkin was his only one light oh hope in the long journey. Since that people believe that pumpkin head can protect their house and scare of Jack’s spirit.
By the way, first festive lanterns were carved from potatoes and turnips.
Another interesting tradition is Trick-or-treating. In funny costumes kids walk from house to house and require candies.
Children wear costumes of princess, pirates, ghosts, monsters, fairies, elves, skeletons, witches, vampires, etc. they can also try themselves in role of their favorite movie or cartoon character like Spiderman, Batman, Cinderella, Snow White, etc.
Adults can make their own Halloween party with costumes, music, games, horror movies and treats. If you have bad imagination, Internet will help you to find your perfect look.
Don’t forget that this night you also need to placate spirits. So your table must be full of tasty food.
Main dishes for your festive table can include decorated cheese, carrots, cucumber, pepper and other different vegetables.
Recipes of dishes with pumpkin will complement you menu and will make a variety. Pumpkin soup, risotto with pumpkin, roast pumpkin, etc. After all, pumpkin is the main attribute of this day. So use it!
Scary Halloween cookies, cakes, biscuits are the best desserts of this day.
Enjoy this day! Happy Halloween!