History of Halloween

Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October night. It is common among children to dress up in scary costumes and move from door-to-door collecting sweets and gifts. They shout at each door, “trick or treat!” before their sacks are filled with treats. Watching horror movies, visiting haunted houses and enjoying some haunted hayrides form a part of the traditional celebrations.

Anoka, Minnesota is the Halloween capital of the world. The history of Halloween dates back to 1920, where the festivities originated in Anoka in an attempt to keep younger people away from vandalism. At that time Halloween was known as “Samhain” and was a pagan festival among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain. Other western countries have embraced Halloween as part of American pop culture later.

Countries like United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Peru, Australia and others also celebrate Halloween. Some parts in Western Europe also are celebrating it recently.

Halloween is the shortened name for All-hallow-even as it is on the eve of All Saints Day. It is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, named after a mischievous spirit. However, there are some fascinating symbols, which make the Halloween celebrations all the more exciting, like:

The Carved Pumpkin

Many families carve out a scary or a comical face onto a pumpkin and place a candle inside it to illuminate the carved out features. They leave it on their doorstep after dark. Legend has it that a stingy, greedy and drunkard old farmer tricked a devil into climbing a tree and trapped him there by carving a cross on the tree trunk. The devil curses Jack to wander on the Earth seeking Eternity. The carved pumpkin basically symbolizes this event.

The Imagery

Halloween is all about darkness and mystery. Popular Halloween characters are ghosts, witches, bats, owls, vultures, black cats, haunted houses, skeletons, demons and werewolves.

Halloween also has some associative colors and each color symbolizes something else, like:

Black – The color of death, night, black cats, vampires and witches
Orange – The color of autumn, pumpkin, Jack-o’-lanterns and fire
Purple – The color of the supernatural and mysticism.
Green – The color of goblins and monsters.
Red – The color of blood and evil.

Games- “trick” of the celebration

Fun games like bobbing apples in a water tub and letting players pick them up by grasping them with their teeth. Or maybe, placing saucers in a table and asking a blindfolded participant to choose one saucer where the contents of each saucer will foretell what the person has in store for him/her in the future. Unmarried women in North America are even said to have gone to the extent of gazing at a mirror in a dark Halloween night groping for their future husband’s face.

Food – “treat” of the celebration

Caramel apples, where apples are rolled in sticky sugar syrup were the most common treat given to kids until reports of candy poisoning were spread. Other foods of the Halloween are candy corn, barmbrack, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, candies shaped like skulls, bats, etc.

Therefore, the Halloween is the perfect mix of trick with treat. It is this blend that makes Halloween as enjoyable as it is.

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