Halloween is a festival of pagan origin celebrated on October 31, the Eve of All Saints' Day. This holiday has its roots in ancient Gaelic festivals that originally celebrated the harvest season in Ireland and coincided with the autumn solstice.
During that night it was believed that the spirits of the deceased walked among the living. The living celebrated with feasts and sacred rites that included attempting to communicate with the dead. In addition, it was customary to place a lit candle in the windows of the house so that the dead could "find their way back”.
Today many people celebrate the holiday by dressing up in scary costumes and decorating their houses. Houses are commonly decorated with Jack-o-lanterns (pumpkins that have a carved face and are lit up with a candle inside), as well as other scary items such as tombstones, bats, or spider webs.
Children from many parts of the world look forward to this day because they get to dress up and go trick-or-treating in their costumes. Trick-or-treating is when kids go from house to house in their neighborhood yelling “Trick or treat!” at each door to ask for candy. But sometimes, instead of giving candy (a “treat”) to the kids, the neighbor might try to scare them (a “trick”)!
TRADITIONS OF HALLOWEEN
In Czech culture, a chair for deceased relatives is placed by the fireplace in the house on Halloween night, among to the chairs of the living.
In Austria, some people leave bread, water and a lit lamp on the table before going to bed. It is believed that this will welcome the dead souls back to Earth.
Meanwhile, in Germany, people hide their knives to make sure that none of the returning spirits try to harm them!
In Ireland, a type of fruitcake known as barnbrack is used as a type of game to predict the future. This treat is baked with different types of objects inside, and depending on what object you get when eating the treat, so will be your future. If you find a ring, it means you will get married soon; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on the way; a pea means that you won’t get married that year, and a stick means you’ll have an unhappy marriage. A coin means you’ll have good luck.
The city of Kawasaki in Japan has an annual Halloween parade to show off the participants fancy Halloween costumes. More than 100,000 watch the parade while some 2,500 people take part in it.
In Manila, capital of the Philippines, pets also get in on the action. An annual costume contest aims to raise funds for animal welfare groups.
What traditions does your country have to celebrate the holiday?