Halloween: Turning into a Pumpkin—Part 3
Many people think that Halloween is the Devil’s holiday because many people dress in strange (and sometimes scary) costumes, but this is far from the truth. It is actually a Christian event called All Hallows’ Eve, but the name changed to Halloween because when people said it fast, this is what it sounded like. This event is based on the celebration of Catholic priests or nuns who have died and were chosen to become saints.
All Hallows’ Eve occurs a day before All Saints’ Day (the latter is held on November 1st). All Saints’ Day is a day when Catholics honor and celebrate their saints; and according to tradition, All Hallows’ Eve is a day when spirits of those deceased are able to return and visit, somewhat like Obon in Japan.
A long time ago, these events took place in communities at night, and people dressed up in costumes, danced and partied all night long. The tradition of giving out candy was actually started by a priest going door-to-door, asking if anyone needed prayers. If they needed prayers, the family usually offered homemade bread to the priest as payment.
Of course, you may be asking “Why costumes?” That is easy. The costumes were made to be scary, to scare away any bad ghosts or goblins that returned that night. The idea of giving candy was also an offering to bribe the ghosts and goblins to stay away.
Modern-day Halloween is not a holiday from school or work. It is celebrated at night by everyone young and old. Children go door-to-door and say “Trick or treat!” and get candy. If they do not get candy, then they may become angry and play a trick on the person who didn’t give them candy.
Many adults also dress up in costume and do a lot of decorating to scare the children. Many companies allow their workers to dress up in costume on October 31st and often hold costume contests and give out prizes. Many adults will go to their favorite bar to drink wearing their costumes, too.
Halloween is a fun festival and if you get a chance to join a Halloween event or party, please do so as it is a fun way to practice English as well as learn about the culture.
In my next blog, I will tell you about jack-o’-lanterns.
To be continued…