Halloween is just around the corner and is also known as 'Halloween Night'. Traditionally, there is a Trick or Treat event where children dressed as ghosts and goblins go from house to house ringing an electric bell and shouting "Trick or Treat!
The Origin and Meaning of Halloween
There are many different versions of the origin of Halloween, but the most widely known version is that it first originated 2,000 years ago with the traditional festival of Samhain, which was celebrated by the Celtic people who lived in what is now Ireland and Britain. Samhain represents the end of summer and the harvest, and the approach of the dark, cold days of winter. The Celtic people believed that the spirits of the dead would return to earth on 31 October, the day of Samhain, to find a suitable replacement for the resurrection. In order not to become a target for the spirits, the Celtic people would put out the fires in their homes on the night of 31 October and parade through the streets dressed as ghosts and ghouls.
Savannah has evolved into what is known today as 'Halloween'. Elements of ghosts, death, magic and monsters are still present, and on Halloween night people usually hang pumpkins, ghosts, bats, demons and other decorations, and use a lot of purples, black and red colors.
The Halloween Story
Halloween Pumpkin Lantern - Czech Pumpkin Lantern (jack-o'-lantern)
Jack-o'-lanterns are carried around the house on Halloween night and many parents make them for their children. But do you know where the Jack-o'-lantern comes from?
In Irish mythology, a man nicknamed 'Jack the Sneaky' invited the devil to drink with him and persuaded him to take the form of a coin, and when the devil fell for it and actually turned into a coin, Jack put the coin in his pocket along with a cross to stop the devil from turning back into himself.
In the end, Jack released the demon on the condition that he would not bother him for a year and that he would not claim Jack's soul after his death, and then even tricked the demon again into agreeing to many conditions.
After Jack's death, God did not want a man of Jack's misconduct to enter heaven, and the devil, jealous of Jack's repeated tricks, sent Jack into the darkness of the night and gave him only coal to light the way. Jack then put the coal inside a carved beetle and roamed the world with the lamp, which became known in Irish mythology as 'Jack the Lantern'.
Interestingly, pumpkins were not actually produced in Ireland, and it was only when the Irish brought this legendary story to the United States that the food that contained the coal-fired lamp changed from cabbages to pumpkins.
Trick or Treat!
Children have long been used to shouting "Trick or Treat!" when visiting their neighbors on Halloween, but where and when did this custom first emerge?
After Christianity arrived in Celtic lands in the ninth century, it gradually merged with the traditional religious rituals of the region. The church designated November 2 as All Souls' Day, a celebration similar to the Celtic 'Savine', during which poor families would visit rich families to pray for their deceased relatives in exchange for a 'soul cake'.
This custom was later adopted by children, and the gifts exchanged became not only cakes but also other food and change.
Black Cats and Halloween
Along with ghosts and vampires, black cats are also a mystical symbol at Halloween. Legend has it that witches are reincarnated as black cats after death. A long-running British folk tale, 'The Cat King', also features a cat.
The wife of a gravedigger waits for her husband to return home with their black cat, Old Tom, but when he does, he asks anxiously, "Who is Tom Tildem? When he looked up, he saw nine black cats with white dots on their chests, each carrying a cat-sized coffin, the larger of which approached the digger and said in a hoarse voice, "Tell Tom Tildem that Tim Tildem is dead". Although the wife was not sure who Tim Tildem was, the black cat, which had been lying on her lap, reacted by suddenly leaping down and shouting "Old Tom is dead! Now I'm the King of the Cats!" And with those words, he left without a word, never to return
Vampires and Halloween
Vampires are also a favorite costume for children on Halloween and there are many stories associated with them in European folklore.
One of the earliest vampires is said to have appeared in the early 18th century, when Arnold Paole, a farmer, died in a serious accident and was buried. It was suspected that Paul had continued to live as a vampire after his death and that his neighbors had fallen ill and died as a result of predation. Since then, rumors of vampirism have been rife in Europe and there has been a great deal of fear of vampires.
It was not until the late 19th century that the vampire Dracula, written by author Bram Stoker, gave a different face to the vampire, and subsequent film and television culture gradually portrayed the vampire as gentlemanly, wealthy, and charismatic.
The above short story can be shared with your family to get your kids started on trick-or-treating.
If you want more inspiration for dressing up for Halloween Day, check out ONFORU's Holiday Light Inspire page and click on the images for more information on dressing up, so you can easily know which products to use for your costume. Or browse the article 🎃Halloween Light Ideas.
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