Friday, November 01, 2013

The history of Hallowe'en

This week, we have exceptionally two entries at The Students' Corner. This time, and for the first time, Catarina Rocha, Patrícia Moura and Patríca Ferreira, both 11thA students, wrote a text about Hallowe'en. I hope all of you have enjoyed this Anglo-saxon tradition last night! Hallowe'en is becoming very popular in Portugal, especially among students. I think English language Teachers are to blame for that! Guilty!

Halloween is traditional and cultural event, usually celebrated by English speaking countries on 31st October. This epoch had its origin in old peoples of Britain and Ireland wh0o believed that on the eve of All Saints Day, the spirits were returning home. As between the sunset of October 31 and the first day of November took place the so called "holy night" (hallow evening), it is thought that it was this factor that led to the current name of the celebration - Halloween. Little by little, the celebration became public, and on the night of October 31st, many rituals and games began to be practised: people wearing costumes allusive to Halloween and leave their homes at night to ask for candy from house to house, saying 'trick or treat'. If they receive candies, people go away and don't play tricks on the home owners. Otherwise, the trick will have to be made, according to the tradition. The habitual treat is tossing toilet paper, eggs and flour. Children and adolescents are the ones that normally participate the most in this 'adventure'. 
Halloween has a traditional sweet which is caramelized apple. In Ireland and Scotland there is a tradition to sculpt a turnip lantern, while in North America people use pumpkins, as they are larger and easier to carve. For the same reason, Portugal also follows this tradition of carving pumpkins. The famous lit pumpkins with candles, are called "jack-o-lantern" and are not seen in the house by chance. They are there with a purpose - to scare off evil spirits. Other elements present in Halloween are witches, owls, crows, spiders, demons, ghosts, black cats, cemeteries, haunted houses, werewolves, bats, death, vampires, the living dead. 
Halloween is one of the perfect times to decorate the houses, as it is a festive "scary"season! When decorating the houses, people are usually inspired by the autumn colors, such as yellow, brown, orange and, of course, black is also one of the typical colors of this festive season! We simply can not miss it!

photo credit: jah~ via photopin cc
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