In the middle of a huge oak table (an oak table) is not less than a huge gourd (a pumpkin): cut the top of her, inside it is all neatly cleaned, cut a hole in the form of the eyes and curved smile (a wry smile). The pumpkin is a lighted candle (a candle), so the eyes and smile light up to play in a dark room … Around the table has gathered a lot of people in fancy costumes (fancy dresses), masks (masks) — strange and frightening (scary). But no one here is not terrible, on the contrary all the fun and enjoy what is happening. Among all the visible horror (visible horror) there is no place for the true horror. It — Halloween.
Perhaps today it is difficult to meet someone who does not know, or at least heard about Halloween. Almost everyone gives the same answer to the question «What is Halloween?». This is something with witches (a witch) and pumpkins, somewhere in the middle of autumn in America. Suffice standard perception (perception) of the event (an event).
Indeed, in its modern version of the holiday came to us from America. Americans ennobled (to refine) it made the cause of the October fun of millions of people — yes, it is in America on October 31 became known as Halloween and celebrated on a par with Christmas and New Year. In fact, Halloween — it’s one of the oldest pagan (pagan) festival celebrated all over it, inhabited by Celtic tribes and was called Samhain (Samhain).
The calendar of Druids (druids) had four major holiday — Imbolc (February 1), Beltane (May 1), Lugnazad (August 1), and Samhain (November 1). The Celts celebrated Samhain the New Year and the arrival of winter, and in the day it was decided to remember (to remember) the dead and make sacrifices (to sacrifice). The ancient inhabitants of the British Isles believed that on this day the souls of all who died in the past year returned to the living world, to find a new shell (a shell), ie a new body. To protect themselves from meetings with fairies (the inhabitants of the underworld), people make fires, wore protective amulets, face smeared with soot (soot) and sacrificed.
With the spread of Christianity in the British Isles during the Roman Empire, pagan festivals and ceremonies were forbidden (to be forbidden), but the people were in no hurry to give up (to refuse) old habits. Therefore, in order not to inflame hostility (feud) between Celtic pagans and Christian preachers, some pagan festivals have declared Christian. Such a fate befell Samhain. Pope ordered consider this day of All Saints Day (Halloween — from hallow, which means «holy»).
Many centuries ago, the fires were lit Halloween, and this chain is not broken and to this day. In the 60s of the 19th century Edinburgh sheriff on his way from Dunkeld in Eberfeldi counted on mountaintops thirty fires. Around them, people were dancing. So in the 20th century and you can still find these fires in remote rayonax (suburbs / margin) Scotland.
Many years have passed, and fires gradually moved from the mountains to the rural and urban areas. Vintage torch (a torch) replaced today with fireworks, but the festival has not lost its pomposity (pomposity) and charm (charm).
Also, residents of Albion believe that a child born on the night of Halloween, is endowed with a special gift of «seeing» that is not available to others.
In different parts of Britain ceremonies Halloween differ by some details. In some cities, students come to the best shops for apples and nuts (nuts), in other areas, wearing fancy masks, teens go home, imitating (to emulate / imitate) the evil spirits and frighten adults.
But the tradition of the lighted pumpkin is native American invention (an invention). Ancient Britons used a large turnip (a turnip), which was supposed to resemble the head and scare away evil spirits. The Americans noticed that the pumpkin is much more convenient scrubbed inside and looks massive, and hence — more frightening. «Pumpkin head» is usually tied to the ceiling.
Now there are many funny and ridiculous rituals associated with the holiday. And they all have their roots in antiquity. Here are some of them.
- False bitё windows (Windows’ false smashing / breaking). Perhaps the most popular ritual among the British and American boys. It consists in the fact that the two boys creep (to sneak) to the window. One of the knocks on the window of his hand and the other on the wall breaks the glass bottle. Of course, the owners of the house think they smashed one of the windows and run out into the street to check what happened.
- The rite of fire (Apple and candle — original name). Children hung from the ceiling on a cord and a small wooden stick on one of its ends is fixed lighted a candle, and the other — the apple. Then unwind the rod, and all took turns trying to bite the apple, but do not set fire to her hair. Of course, do not touch hands or to an apple or a candle to.
- Divination Halloween (Halloween divination). Of course, divination on the night of Halloween — it is the prerogative of the girls, girls, young women, but certainly not the young men. And the popularity of such divination as much guessing in Russia on Christmas and Epiphany. British women believe that you need to wash his nightshirt (a sleeping dress) on the night before Halloween and put it dried on a chair beside the bed. If the girl does not manage to sleep, she sees her betrothed, who will come to pick up a shirt.
Like all holidays, Halloween is associated with certain culinary delights (a masterpiece). Of course, none of the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles could not imagine it without the flavored butter and honey (honey) of porridge (oatmeal). Later, during the time of Burns, replaced oatmeal mashed potatoes, which nowadays are hidden charms (a mascot). But perhaps the crowning glory of any table in the Halloween night is apple pie (apple pie) and «witches fingers» (witch fingers). The latter dish is a chicken breast slices, cut in the shape of fingers and fried in breadcrumbs, which are laid out in the form of olive halves nails — all the dish as a whole looks like a witch’s hand.
Of course, talking about the history and development of the traditions and rituals of Halloween can be for hours. I tried to collect the most interesting and informative information about this festival, which is already knocking at our windows, as on the threshold of October 30 …
For those who need or are just interested in more information about the holiday Halloween, I would advise you to turn to the book K. Korolev «Mythology of the British Isles,» which is a comprehensive collection of myths, legends, customs and traditions of the British.