What do you know about Halloween? Follow the rules of ‘trick-or-treat’ properly
Today 31 October is Halloween, a feast which originated in the medieval ages from the pagan beliefs in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
In those times, people would dress up in ghost costumes and masks, knocking on doors asking for a treat and according to legend, whoever gave it to them would have good fortune.
Today, the traditions linked with Halloween are influenced by Christian dogma, as the Catholic Church celebrates All Saint’s Day on 1 November and All Soul’s Day on 2 November.
That is why there are those who say that Halloween is the feast which takes place before these two days, in the same way that other feasts are celebrated before Christmas and Easter.
Halloween, which means the night of the saints, spread throughout the world when the Irish and Scottish immigrated to the United States in the 19th century.
The Halloween parade in New York began in 1974 and has been held every year ever since, becoming one of the largest events in the world which attracts 60,000 participants dressed in costumes, two million spectators, and a TV audience of 100 million people.
The symbols of Halloween
The pumpkin is a symbol of Halloween and probably was used because it is associated with the harvest. Today many other items have been added which are synonymous with Halloween including the images of Frankenstein and Dracula, monsters, and the colours orange and black.
The custom of ‘trick-or-treat’ is more popular with children, who knock door to door asking for sweets or money as a ‘treat’ or a ‘trick’ for whoever is naughty.
Halloween costumes have introduced a supernatural element to this feast with vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches and even devils. Even domestic animals have started being dressed up in costumes with the most popular being a pumpkin costume.
Typical Halloween food
Among the main activities during this period are places which are haunted, while the typical food tends to be vegetables so that people do not eat meat. However, sweets for children during trick or treating remain the most popular item.
In certain Catholic countries, a Mass is celebrated and prayers are held for the souls in preparation for All Saints’ Day on 1 November.
Opinions about Halloween are divided these days because while there are those who consider it a cute tradition for children, others still associate it with paganism and the occult.
Follow these rules for trick or treating
If you intend to go out trick or treating this evening, it is important to follow these rules:
– only go to houses which are lit up and decorated for Halloween
– only ring the bell once
– only take one sweet from each house
– don’t bother people after 9pm
– and never enter a dark house!