Thursday, October 20, 2011

What the "*#@$" is Halloween???


A lot of my folks back home are wondering what is this "Halloween" that I keep on talking about all the time since the start of this month...(apart form the fact that it is all about ghosts and monsters)
and I know a lot of you are thinking... "oh no...there she goes again...she seems obsessed with this Halloween thing!!"

Thats right guys, it does seem that I am getting a bit obsessed with the whole concept of Halloween (or my husband certainly seems to think so!)
I don't know, I find the whole "Halloween" hoopla highly amusing and a lot of fun!
But before I go onto another rapturous monologue I'll just tell you a bit about what I gathered is Halloween…esp the Halloween in the U.S.!
The history is very unclear whether the festival has a celtic or a roman or a welsh origin…mostly its believed to be from a Celtic festival called Samhain…
In this Festival, which fell in the time when summer had ended and winter was fast approaching... People would light bonfires, and wear costumes to ward of evil spirits and ghosts!
The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day which is actually All Saints day to honor and pray for the souls of saints and martyrs!
So All Hallows Eve becomes "Halloween" and over time it loses its religious fervor and superstitions and becomes a more of a community based event with child friendly activities like trick or treat and hay rides and telling of ghost stories and having halloween parades and parties.
ok now we come to the symbols of Halloween…
For instance, the carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory (or place between heaven and hell).The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween,but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips.
Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, or mythical monsters. Black and orange are the holiday's traditional colors and used in all the decorations around the house.
Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. 
Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats.
The American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits
Costumes
The tradition of dressing up in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.  
Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.
Halloween costume parties generally fall on, or around, 31 October, mostly celebrated on the Friday or Saturday prior to Halloween.
the Haunted attractions and Hoopla!!
They include haunted houses, corn mazes, and hayrides, and the level of sophistication of the effects has risen as the industry has grown. Haunted attractions in the United States bring in an estimate $300–500 million each year, and draw some 400,000 customers at the least!!
And the halloween industry on its own brings in about $6 billion annually in America which makes it the  country's second largest commercial holiday!
so I guess now you can understand my fascination of the ghoulishly fun festival?
i leave you with some images of how people all over America are decorating thier homes, gardens and front porches with pumpkins and ghosts, crows, bats and even spiders.... they are awesomely creative  :-)














4 comments:

  1. Make the most of halloween babes.. I have a feeling u will carrying on this tradition once u getback to india..!! Halloween is pretty big here as well.. Last year the family got to enjoy it as well when they visited.. Abbu ne khub photo khichwaayi thi.. !! We celebrate itbig time in discovery bay.. :) ammi will get to experience it again this time..

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  2. bahut achcha,wikipeadia dekhne ki zaroorat naheen hogi.

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  3. its amazing sheeba apa ,i knew a bit about halloween ,i find it vry intresting,bt nw i got the fullllll info ,thanks to u <3<3<3<3

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  4. Hi Maryam
    Finally i get to read your blog.......i had a tough time posting a comment here....am little technically challenged...hehehe. enjoyed your journey of discovering America, very well written.
    loved Owais's pic, especially his expression, in Halloween craft ideas. looking forward to your new entry!!

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