Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Festival

Happy Halloween Day Festival
Source adapted from Various Internet Resources
Images are from Google

Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, primarily in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holiday All Saints' Day, but is today largely a secular celebration.

Common Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, ghost tours, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, committing pranks, telling ghost stories or other frightening tales, and watching horror films

History & Origin 

Halloween festival comes with its own history and origin which is less popular than the festival itself. As Halloween nears, about the origin of Halloween which is one of the most celebrated events and holiday in the calender. October 31st is the day..oops the night marked for it.

One of those events that is observed all around the globe with equal enthusiasm. Origin of the term Halloween comes from the Catholic Church where the All Hallows Eve has been shortened or in other words corrupted into this new word called “Halloween”. The ‘All Hallows Day’ is a Catholic day of observance in honour of saints. That’s how the day got its name. As for the date, in the 5th Century BC Celtic Island the summer ended on 31st October marking the Celtic New Year or the Samhain meaning sow-in.. That’s how the date came into being.

There are numerous customs which have gotten associated with the Halloween over a period of time and it is these customs that add to the charm of it all. The oldest of all is probably the ‘Trick or Treat‘ which literally symbolizes the occasion at-least for kids. The custom has several stories behind it, but the most popular says that during Samhain, the Druids believed that dead would play tricks on the community and it was important to keep them happy and appeased by feeding them sweets when they visited their homes.

Another one is ‘The Witch’s Broom‘. The witches are considered to be the pivot of Halloween, the word witch originates from Wica meaning wise. It is believed that while setting up for Sabbath, the witches applied an ointment which gave a feeling of flying and the broom carrying witches felt giddy in the head because of the effect of the ointment. In such a state if they were told that they have been flying over water and land, they readily believed it!

The ‘Jack-O-Lanterns‘ adorn every house during Halloween. They also have an interesting history. The folklore goes that the Irish children used to carve out lanterns from potatoes and rotten turnips and light them up for the halloween gathering in the household to commemorate Jack, an evil guy who was rejected by both God and Devil. After rejection from everywhere he only wandered aimlessly taking refuge and shelter in the pumpkin/turnip lanterns.

Over the years many more new customs have been added to the annual event of Halloween, with people hosting special theme parties and costume balls designed around the older customs. No matter how many novel stuff is added to the ways of celebration, the day would always hold a very special position for more than centuries in the future.

Halloween Costume

Kids-in-Halloween Costumes
Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after monsters such as 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.

Dressing up in costumes and going "guising" was prevalent in Scotland and Ireland at Halloween by the 19th century. Costuming became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century, as often for adults as for children. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States.

What sets Halloween costumes apart from costumes for other celebrations or days of dressing up is that they are often designed to imitate supernatural and scary beings. Costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils, or in more recent years such science fiction-inspired characters as aliens and superheroes. There are also costumes of pop culture figures like presidents, athletes, celebrities, or film, television, and cartoon characters. Another popular trend is for women (and in some cases, men)to wear sexy or revealing costumes.

Halloween costume parties generally fall on, or around, 31 October, often falling on the Friday or Saturday prior to Halloween

Games & Other Activities

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. One common game is dunking or apple bobbing, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin.A variant of dunking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drop the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a very sticky face.

Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. A traditional Scottish form of divining one's future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one's shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. Unmarried women were told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The telling of ghost stories and viewing of horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of television series and Halloween-themed specials (with the specials usually aimed at children) are commonly aired on or before the holiday, while new horror films are often released theatrically before the holiday to take advantage of the atmosphere.

Haunted attractions

Party Room decorated with Balloons having Ghosts


Entrance with  Dancing Ghosts

Haunted attractions are entertainment venues designed to thrill and scare patrons. Most attractions are seasonal Halloween businesses. Origins of these paid scare venues are difficult to pinpoint, but it is generally accepted that they were first commonly used by the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees) for fundraising. 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, although trends suggest a peak in 2005.This increase in interest has led to more highly technical special effects and costuming that is comparable with that in Hollywood films.


Boiled Eggs

Halloween Ghosts Candies
Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (known as toffee apples outside North America), caramel or taffy apples are common Halloween treats made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, sometimes followed by rolling them in nuts.

At one time, candy apples were commonly given to children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples. While there is evidence of such incidents, they are quite rare and have never resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, many parents assumed that such heinous practices were rampant because of the mass media. At the peak of the hysteria, some hospitals offered free X-rays of children's Halloween hauls in order to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all of the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy.[citation needed]

One custom that persists in modern-day Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays, the purchase) of a barmbrack (Irish: báirín breac), which is a light fruitcake, into which a plain ring, a coin and other charms are placed before baking. It is said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year. This is similar to the tradition of king cake at the festival of Epiphany.


Very Very Important  thing for those who are Celebrating & going for Trick -or-Treat is Halloween Safety Tips

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