Celebrating Halloween in America
How Americans Celebrate Halloween
The last day of October becomes the time when thousands of pirates, ghosts, princesses, cats and other characters fill the streets of all American towns, searching for candies. If you wonder, what a chaos is going around on October 31, it is just one of the most favorite holidays in the USA – Halloween. Every garden is decorated with the main symbol of this feast – pumpkin. Usually, it is used to cut funny faces on it and is considered as a repellant from evil spirits. Another most popular Halloween symbol is black color that is why almost every costume includes something black.
Halloween in the United States significantly differs from its European counterpart, even if we don’t talk about a highly symbolic and ceremonial holiday of the ancient Druids – Samhain. Americans tend to celebrate this holiday louder, more joyfully, and, in fact, more light-mindedly than the rest of the world.
Here are some more absorbing facts about the spookiest American holiday that you might have missed:
Halloween’s HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Back in the past, up to the 16th century, Halloween had been originally celebrated during summer period. Even though the date was different, some traditions remained completely untouched – spooky celebration, monstrous dressing, pranking each other, and others. The roots of the holiday were in Scotland. Halloween, which has been brought to America by the Scottish and the Irish, is a more modern version of Samhain, an ancient Celtic holiday aimed to celebrate the end of harvesting season and honor the dead. The majority of people are not interested in its pagan origins, but they still believe that this holiday is satiated with an inexplicable magic. Though the traditional festival turned into an entertaining event, its symbolism hasn’t changed. Phantoms, skeletons, vampires, witches, demons, and all your favorite characters from horror movies indicate the connection between the physical world and the spiritual realm. Why are all those symbols mostly grim and gothic? Just imagine that the door to the other world has been truly opened at night. We bet you won’t see glittering fairies and unicorns. The holiday itself is associated with dark part of existence, which cannot be ignored but should be treated with respect instead.
Originally, Halloween was considered to be purely a religious holiday. Its main purpose was to commemorate those people, who did not get to either hell or paradise, and stayed between them – in purgatory. To demonstrate their memory, people used to carve pumpkins in various shapes. The modern celebration changed the vision of pumpkins and now Americans make different scary faces intended to frighten evil spirits.
MODERN AMERICAN CELEBRATIONS
Halloween has achieved such a great popularity among people in the USA that there are separate businesses devoted to this autumn holiday. Starting from the middle of September, several particular stores start selling various Halloween-oriented goods for enjoying the mood of the holiday for at least a day. There is a special explanation why Halloween became so popular among Americans. Recently, huge feasts have become discomfort to ordinary people, imposing tedious and tiring traditions. People suffer from annual ticket increase, constant Christmas queues in malls and simply visiting the same relatives with no real desire. Halloween does not include such agenda. You do not have to present gifts as well as invite anybody because of your politeness. That is a celebration for children with their Trick or Treat laughing. This is the holiday to rest and enjoy.
COSTUMES OF HALLOWEEN
Changing your outfit is already an integral part of Halloween. Numerous shops offer both finished costumes to wear as well as some materials and parts to make your own image. The most used and the most popular ones during the holiday night are ghosts, skeletons, deaths, mummies, Frankensteins, reapers, vampires, zombies, witches, clowns, werewolves, devils, ghouls, and many other heroes of cartoons, films and narrative stories.
Halloween and Children
According to an old tradition of wearing scary clothes to chase evil spirits away, children also wear costumes of ghosts, vampires, and werewolves and visit their neighbors to scream their favorite phrase of this day “Trick or treat!”. There is no kid who dislikes small gifts, snacks, and sweets, and when it also entails having fun, there’s nothing better! If the adults are greedy, they should be punished with small tricks children have made up. Of course, it all resembles a play and even in case of choosing a trick instead of giving a treat, each role should be performed in a friendly manner. Usually, parents accompany small children to take care to ensure that treats are harmless.
Apart from pumpkins and costumes, there are a lot of other interesting habits that you will meet during Halloween. Evening is a nice time to watch a horror blockbuster in order to keep yourself awake during the night, play scary games, read frightening stories, etc.
If you decide to spend All Hallows Eve at home, stock up on such delicious sweets as butterfingers, pumpkin cake, spooky-looking cookies, eyeball pinwheels, and, of course, candy apples. It would be great to offer some of these treats to children who will knock on your door.
Halloween is also connected with a generous deed of collecting donations for poor children. If you see the UNICEF logo on children’s trick-or-treat costumes or cardboard boxes, it’s wise to give some money along with the usual candy. Though they collect coins, your generosity depends on you.
Are You Ready to Become Spooky?
One of the favorite parts of Halloween for both adults and children is carving jack-o’-lanterns – pumpkins with funny and creepy faces. An abundance of pumpkins, serving as decorations of gardens and houses, makes this holiday imaginative, bright and cheerful (even if their aim was to scare you a little bit). By the way, jack-o’-lanterns, similarly to scary clothes, are intended to repel different demons that would come out of the underworld together with good spirits of our ancestors.
All Halloweens’ Eve is a much loved holiday among families, friends, and even colleagues: well, it’s difficult to find an American who doesn’t like it. People cook delicious dishes, making them look bone-chilling; watch horror and mystic movies; transform their homes into the impressive haunted houses; and of course, organize Halloween parties. Eerie masquerades can be held both at home in a circle of friends and relatives or at enormous venues where people display their terrific outfits and have fun. Whatever kind of celebration you may choose, October 31 transforms the whole America into a colossal Addams Family.
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