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Custom & Trandition From The other Culture--002: Halloween
By Mr. Michael F. G (U.S.A.)
Hi, friends, I am so lucky that I often get much friendly help from many good friends with different way. Today, I was touched for I got a very good and very friendly letter from Mr. Michael F. G. on the Halloween. In his letter, Mr. Michael F. G.introduced something about Halloween with a very patient way and I think it is very helpful and it is a very good support to my work on the web site. So, I would like to publish it as a friend's works and good custom and tradition from American cultures. I do hope you enjoy it.

Happy Halloween! Mr. Michael F. G and all of the friends who are celebrating this Festival. :-)

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions and good ideas, please write to, you are welcomed.

Mon.,Oct 31, 2005

Dear Shirley,

I apologize for taking so long to send this.

Around the eighth century, the Christian church made November 1 All Saints' Day to honor all of the saints that did not have a special day of their own. The mass held on All Saints' Day was called All Hallowmas (the mass of all Hallows -- saintly people). The night before was known as All Hallows Eve. Eventually this name became Halloween
In the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain , the Celtic New year. On that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. Naturally, the living did not want to be possessed, so on the night of October 31, the villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in and parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Unlike our modern-day Halloween, theirs was not a children's holiday. The Celts and their priests, the Druids, from Great Britain and Ireland. They celebrated "SAMHAIN". It was a festival that marked the eve of the Celtic New Year, which began on November 1. The fall harvest was complete and winter was looming ahead. The Celts believed the sun was fading away, at this time of the year. For the next several months, darkness prevailed. The Celts believed that during "Samhain" the veil separating life from death was at its thinnest. On the evening of October 31, the evil spirits and souls of the dead passed through the barrier and visited the world of the living. The Celts believed these spirits could cause all kind of havoc. They also believed that they could talk with the dead, departed loved ones and such. They also believed that they could Divine the future. The powers of darkness were conjured up on "Samhain". The Devil himself, would be called upon to foretell of future events.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

Many people view Halloween as a time of innocent fun. Children love to dress up as their favorite characters. They will go door to door saying the infamous words "trick or treat". Many adults also love Halloween, because it gives them a chance to let loose and act silly. Every year in the U.S.A. alone, millions of dollars are spent on Halloween goods. Halloween is the second highest grossing money maker outside of Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed this brief description of Halloween.

Your Friend