A frightening festival that chills the spine is Halloween. It is observed on 31st Oct. This festival has its roots in All Saint’s Day-a Christian holiday and the Celtic festival of Samhain. In the present day and age, Halloween is chiefly a secular celebration. This year it is falling on Sunday. So, this year people have entire weekend to decorate homes.
The day of Halloween is the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was a pagan holiday which honors the dead. Halloween dates back to more than twenty eras. Halloween is celebrated before All Saint’s Day. Culture of Halloween can be traced back to the Druids which is a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Several practices of this scary festival were based on superstition. According to Celt belief, souls of the dead roamed in streets at night. As all spirits were not thought to be affable, gifts were left out to placate the evil.
As there are various versions associated to the beginning and old customs of Halloween, some are consistent. Various cultures view Halloween in a different way but traditional Halloween practices are the same.
A number of activities take place on this festival that symbolize fright and fear. These activities include visiting haunted attractions, telling ghost stories, committing pranks, trick or treating, apple bobbing, watching horror movies, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, and ghost tours.
Jack-o’-lanterns (candles carved from pumpkin) are carved while commemorating souls in purgatory. Candle lanterns are also carved from turnips. These candles are carved in such a way that scary faces are formed and then they are placed on windows to keep away evil spirits. Many families carve a comical or scary face on a pumpkin and when it’s dark, they place it on their doorsteps.
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There are several sources from which the imagery of Halloween is derived. These sources include works of Gothic and horror literature, national customs and classic horror movies. Corn husks, pumpkin and scarecrows are also ubiquitous. Around Halloween, homes are often decorated with these symbols.
Themes of evil, occult, mythical monsters, death or magic are included in Halloween imagery. Witches, ghosts, vampires, demons, werewolves, skeletons, black cats and bats are some of the traditional characters. With celebrations orange and black colors are linked. It is so, may be because the color of darkness of night and the color of autumn leaves, fire or pumpkins are black and orange respectively.
Also known as All Saints’ Eve and All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween is an exciting and thrilling frightening festival and it continues to fascinate people of every age.
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