Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or treat?

Halloween is just around the corner and my daughter is suddenly showing a lot of interest in Halloween. She is looking forward to going for “Trick or treat” with her friends tomorrow. I took her yesterday to the town centre and got her a beautiful (!) witch costume.

I did some research on Halloween to see why it is being celebrated and to tell my daughter some stories about Halloween. Here is what I found out.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st which is the eve of All Saints day celebrated on Nov 1st. For some reason Halloween was thought to be the night when ghosts, spirits and witches are very active. It seems in those days people used to disguise themselves by wearing masks so that ghosts would not recognise them. This is also in one way supposed to be a celebration marking the end of the harvest season.

Halloween seems to have originated from Scottish and Irish people and then spread to parts of Europe and US. While Halloween seems to have originally been a function related to superstitions and religious beliefs, over the years I think the stress has shifted more on having fun. From what I could gather, today Halloween is a modern day holiday and seems to be more about costume parties, “trick or treat” for children and an event for the elders to get together.

By the way "Trick-or-treat", is an event for children during Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the home owners or their property if no treat is given.

One interesting thing I read is that during Halloween people carve pumpkins and paint scary faces on them to keep the evil spirits away. This is a practice which is followed in India as well though we do it throughout the year and not only on Oct 31st. Isn't is a small world?!

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