Lisbon, 28th of October 2006. According to historic manuscripts, Halloween dates back to traditions and customs of the civilization that occupied Gaul from the years 600 a.c to 800 a.c, where today is Portugal, Spain, Italy and Britain's Islands.
The lit up pumpkins and door to door trick or treating became popular in the United States. Traditionally, Halloween was not related to witches. It was a festival marked on the Celts calendar, today a land we call Ireland, by druid priests, who joyfully commemorated their Gods and the dead - The Samhain festival, Lord of the dead, celebrated on the 1st of November. The festival also marked the end of summer, the coming of a new year and the abundance of crops. They believed that on the eve of October the 31st, Samhain summoned all the spirits that for the past twelve months had been doomed to live in the bodies of animals.
On that very night, the community would gather around a fire offering their crops and animals, they were sure that it was then that the earth and the spiritual world collided. So they wore animal heads and skin as disguises to scare the spirits that were looking for human bodies. To get ride of the spirits, the druids had to offer them food or other gifts. If the spirits were happy with what they got, they would leave the population alone, but if they were not, they would play a trick or cast a spell, destroying the people who lived there.
As Samham was a pagan celebration, it was not allowed in the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages; those who insisted on celebrating were tracked down and condemned to the fire by the Inquisition. The trick or treating began in Ireland just a few centuries back, naturally based on the druid's customs. A group of farmers of a small village got together and decided to honor their Gods by throwing a Halloween party. They went door to door begging for food to have at the party, the kind givers were whished good luck, but the ones that didn't give any food were threatened.
As the celebration takes place over night, 31st of October to November the 1st, the name Halloween is believed to have come from the combination of Hallow Evening, taken to America by Irish emigrants (Celts) during the 19th Century. For over two thousand years Halloween has become a tradition in many countries because of the American cultural influence. This date is now a celebration where children and adults dress up in the scariest costumes and go out trick or treating. Black, orange and purple are the colors that symbolize Halloween.
The main impersonations are of ghosts, witches, vampires, Jack-O-lantern, pumpkins, bats, skulls, skeletons, monsters, demons, spiders and other elements related to fear and magic as well as places our imagination takes us like cemeteries, haunted houses and other dark places. The icon symbol is the sculpted pumpkin, lit by a candle on the inside and put on our door steps. Legend has it that an Irish folk man, named Jack, was forced to walk alone and never to let the candle blow out so that his path always had light. In order to do so he sculpted a turnip and put the candle in. And because there are no turnips in the Unites States, people started using pumpkins instead, hence the world's famous symbol! They are the so called Jack-O Lantern.
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