Halloween is celebrated in many countries around the world, from Japan to the USA. It takes place on the 31st October. People usually wear scary costumes and attend Halloween parties. Halloween probably originated in Ireland, from the Celtic festival “Samhain”. It was a festival which celebrated the end of summer – the “lighter” half of the year and the beginning of the “darker” half. People believed that evil spirits would come out on this day, and so to protect themselves they wore costumes and masks to look like evil spirits themselves. The word “Halloween” comes from the Scottish “All-Hallows-Even”, which means “the day before All Hallows”. All Hallows is the “Day of the Dead”, observed in many cultures around the world. These days Halloween is more popular in the USA than anywhere else.
Probably the most important tradition in the celebration of Halloween is dressing up in costumes. Popular choices of costumes are ghosts, witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, demons and devils.
A jack-o-lantern is a carved out pumpkin with a candle inside. A scary face is carved on one side of the pumpkin. Originally, in Ireland and Britain, jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips, but in the USA there were lots of pumpkins and much easier to carve out because of their size.
Trick or treating
This involves going from door to door, dressed in a Halloween costume and asking
for “treats”, such as sweets, cakes or money. The question “trick or treat?” means
“give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you!”
Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “All Saints Day.” It is a joyous and happy holiday…a time to remember friends and family who have died but, as a feast, Halloween in Spain is gaining popularity.