Halloween In Different Lands
edited: Thursday, May 29, 2008
By JC Pinkerton
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, August 12, 2006
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Ever wonder how Halloween was celebrated in different lands?
Soul! Soul! For an apple or two!
Halloween is celebrated in various ways in different countries. Many of these old customs are still celebrated today.
Halloween is the night to be on the lookout for such things as ghosts and goblins, witches and black cats, haunted houses and . . .
You thought you heard something while reading this? Oh never mind it’s only the rattling, clinking, clanking, bones of skeletons floating through the air.
Some people go so far as to say, that on this night the Headless Horseman rides through the streets carrying his head, a jack-o-lantern, with bright spooky eyes beaming in the night.
Halloween in the United States:
Each October 31st, people from many different lands celebrate Halloween. In the United States, children dress up in costumes, and trot from house to house.
Their Halloween bags swing back and forth in the night air. The children knock on front doors, and holding their bags forward they shout, “Trick or treat!”
The person who answers the door drops treats into their bags, such as candy, cookies, an apple, orange or even a penny for the callers.
Some people build big bonfires on this night of spookiness, and gather around for a great Halloween party. At the party you might “bob for apples,” or even eat them.
Many people serve caramel or candied apples at Halloween parties. On the tables you might see a carved pumpkin. This is the night that garden pumpkins turn into jack-o-lanterns with a lighted candle inside. They sit silently from front porches, and leer out at people.
Halloween in the land of the Celts:
Long ago in England the Celts held a ceremony called Samhain, which meant “the end of the summer.” The Celts believed that at Samhain the dead came back to walk the earth.
Huge bonfires were set ablaze to spook these ghostly creatures away. I wonder what made the Celts think that a ghost would be afraid of a bonfire?
The Druids, who were priests of the Celts, held bizarre rituals. They offered human sacrifices to the gods in thanks for the harvest, and for protection from the ghosts, ghouls, and other creatures of the night. Of course they always sacrificed someone else—never themselves.
Years later, the Christians continued some of the Samhain customs, but changed it to a different holiday. They set aside November 1st to honor all their Christian saints. They called the day “All Hallows Day,” better known today as "All Saints Day."
Halloween in Ireland:
In Ireland the people told a story about poor Jack. The story goes that he was not allowed to enter heaven because he was too evil.
The devil said he didn’t want him because ole Jack had out tricked him. So, Jack was forced to wander over the earth forever, carrying a lantern.
On Halloween, the Irish started making “jack-o-lanterns” by carving out a face in turnips, or potatoes, and placing a small candle inside.
They would set them on tables, or in windows. Today, we carve jack-o-lanterns out of pumpkins.
Halloween in England:
In England, children would beg for “soul-cakes” on Halloween. When the English settlers came to the United States they brought this custom with them. In America it was changed to “Trick or treat, money or eat.”
The children in England beg in several different ways. Some might say:
Soul! Soul! For a souling-cake!
I pray you, good missus, a souling-cake.
In another part of England, the children might say:
If you have no apples,
Pears will do,
If you have no pears,
Money will do.
It you have no money,
God bless you!
Halloween in Scotland:
The children in Scotland play a fun Halloween game. They go out to the cabbage patch, and with their eyes closed, pull up a head of cabbage. The type of cabbage they pull up determines their future spouse.
A cabbage with a close white head means a dreary old husband, but if there is soil on the roots, the child will marry someone rich. The children then bring the cabbages home, and hang them above their front door.
Did you know that Halloween was not celebrated much at all in the United States until the late 1800’s?
Today it is the beginning of the holiday season in America. By the first of September stores are putting out Halloween goodies and during the month of October Halloween decorations are going up in yards, and on houses.
Even though there are no real ghosts, ghouls, or witches flying through the air on broomsticks, Halloween is still the most frightening night of the year. Still today, secret rituals are held on this night, and evil is worshipped.
1976. Holidays and Customs. Chicago.
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