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Halloween is certainly an exciting time of year. Not only for little ones but for parents also. After all, who doesn’t like getting dressed up as their favorite ghoul, goblin, superhero, or bad guy, and go out trick-or-treating or to a Halloween social gathering. Halloween is an occasion observed worldwide and in virtually every country as there are seasonal and faith based connections that are popular. It has existed for nearly five centuries.
There is some speculation on the beginning of Halloween(not the name) but the occasion. A number of historians link it to the Roman feast of Pomona, who was the goddess of fruits and seeds. Others believe it started as Parentalia, the “festival of the dead”. It is nevertheless, more frequently associated with the Celtic festival referred to as Samhain, a Gaelic event which honors the end of summer.
Of course the name “Halloween” is more commonly connected with the Scottish variation of “All-Hallows-Eve”, or, the evening prior to All-Hallows-Day or All Saints day. It originated in 1556, and through the centuries All-Hallows-Eve evolved into Halloween. Halloween is October 31st, and is commemorated around the world, however not all cultures observe on this date. Some nations around the world celebrate on the second Tuesday in December.
Halloween has a lot of symbolism and imagery that has developed over the years and many societies and movements have contributed to it. Most particularly are the Jack-o’-lantern, Dracula, ghosts, death, evil, and dark scary themes. Black and orange are Halloween’s official colors. Halloween has spawned an entire industry of costume manufacturers and each year the latest trend of popular movies and characters contributes to offerings.
In addition there are countless activities that have become customs of Halloween. Trick-or-treating has become the most preferred. Kids nationwide dress up and go house to house in their neighborhoods collecting candy and goodies. There are Halloween functions, prank playing, games which include bobbing for apples, and attending haunted houses & graveyards.
Favorite foods at Halloween are candy or caramel apples, candy corn, popcorn, apple cider, and baked pumpkin seeds. Several other cultures have traditional foods they prepare for instance Ireland’s barmbrack that is a fruit bread.
Halloween symbolizes the season of the harvest and the conclusion of summer. Fall or Autumn in the northern hemisphere is when the weather turns cool and cultures harvest their crops in preparation of winter. Many people assert it is their favorite season citing cooler weather, back to school, the beginning of the American Football season, and several other reasons. All in all it is a great time and remains an important part of the calendar year.
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