sobota, 30 października 2010

Happy Halloween!


On October 31st, we celebrate Halloween, thought to be the one night of the year when ghosts, witches, and fairies are especially active.

Why do we celebrate Halloween?
The easy answer to this question is that no one really knows the origins of Halloween.
What we do know for sure is that Halloween is on the eve of a major Catholic festival, All Saints (1st November) and the eve of the pagan Celtic festival known as Samhain.
Currently, it is widely thought that Halloween originated as a pagan Celtic festival of the dead related to the Irish and Scottish Samhain, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times.

Our ancestors celebrated New Year on November 1st.
They celebrated their New Year's Eve on October 31st.
Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in') marked the end of the "season of the sun" (summer) and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold" (winter).
Halloween comes from All Hallow Even, the eve (night before) All Hallows day. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

Jack-o-lanterns - Pumpkin Lanterns
These are hollowed out pumpkins with a face cut into one side. People once carved out beets, potatoes and turnips to use as lanterns on Halloween. Nowadays we carve out pumpkins.
According to an Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns were named for a man named Jack, who could not enter heaven because he was a miser. He could not enter hell either, because he had played jokes on the devil. So instead, he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.
The Roman festival for remembering the dead was also in October. During this time, the Romans remembered their goddess, Pomona. She was the goddess of the trees and fruits, and when the Romans came to Britain, they began to hold these two festivals on the same day as Samhain. Apple games probably became associated with Halloween because of this.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

Halloween was a time for making mischief - many parts of England still recognise Halloween as Mischief Night - when children would knock on doors demanding a treat (Trick or Treat) and people would disguise themselves as witches, ghosts, kelpies and spunkies, in order to obtain food and money from nervous householders.

ghosts - duchy
witches - wiedźmy
fairies - wróżki
origins - korzenie, źródła
eve - wigilia, przeddzień
All Saints - Wszystkich Świętych
pagan Celtic festival - pogańskie święto celtyckie
pre-Christian times - czasy przedchrześcijańskie
ancestors - przodkowie
pumpkin - dynia
carve - rzeźbić
mischief - psoty, figle
trick or treat - cukierek albo psikus
kelpies - szkockie złe duchy w postaci konia, topią swoich jeźdźców
spunkies - w szkockiej mitologii - rodzaj tajemniczych światełek

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