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Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween: Horror and Haunting Experience

It is one of goth's favorite time to live in gloomy world of death, ghosts and haunting. Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday celebrated on October 31. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints. It is largely a secular celebration but some have expressed strong feelings about perceived religious overtones. The day is often associated with the colors black and orange, and is strongly associated with symbols like the jack-o'-lantern. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, ghost tours, bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.Halloween has origins in the ancient festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in or sau-an), which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end". This was a Gaelic festival celebrated mainly in Ireland and Scotland. However, similar festivals were held by other Celts – for example the festival of Calan Gaeaf (pronounced kalan-geyf) which was held by the ancient Britons.
Snap-Apple Night by Daniel Maclise showing a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. The young children on the right bob for apples. A couple in the center play a variant, which involves retrieving an apple hanging from a string. The couples at left play divination games. The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year".

The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces.[8][9] Samhain was also a time to take stock of food supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. All other fires were doused and each home lit their hearth from the bonfire. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.[10] Sometimes two bonfires would be built side-by-side, and people and their livestock would walk between them as a cleansing ritual.Another common practise was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink.

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows' Even – e'en is a shortening of even, which is a shortening of evening. This is ultimately derived from the Old English Eallra Hālgena ǣfen. Halloween is linked as well to the day of the souls every 2nd of November where associations to ghost and mythical creatures derived from. Halloween is being celebrated by people to scare and amuse children about mythical creatures and dead people rising from the tomb and zombies usually taken from the rich folk literature. People dressed in different horrifying costumes usually realistic props that can frighten and raise your hair. People also believe that during these days, souls of the dead in the underworld return to Earth to visit their loved ones and reside in their former homes. The significance of the All Soul's Day is for us to remember our departed loved ones in our hearts and minds they shall be immortal, pray for their soul to have eternal peace and communion with God and also during the All Saint's Day to remember the significant holistic works they've done and ask for their intercession for us.
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