Halloween is one of the oldest festival in the world that is celebrated in several countries, including America, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Mexico, Latin America and Spain, etc.
More than 2000 years ago, there lived the Celtic people in the areas that are now Ireland and Northern France, and the origin of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celtic people celebrated the new year on November 1st each year, meaning the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter, and people often associated this time with human death. The Celtics believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between worlds of the living and the dead became blurred as the dead searched for the afterlife, which will bring about adversities for the living, so on the night of October 31st, the Celtics celebrated Samhain to get rid of mischief and trouble.
The Celtics built sacred bonfires to burn animals and crops to make sacrifice to the Gods for protection and to help scare the ghost away. At the same time, the Celts also disguise themselves as ghosts by wearing costumes, trying to confuse the wandering spirits.
In 800 A.D., Christianity was introduced into the Celtic land. Pope Boniface IV designated November 1st as All Saints Day, the time to honor saints and martyrs, and it is also known as All Hallowmas. Thus, October 31st became known as All Hallows Eve, and eventually was shortened to the current title, Halloween.
In A.D. 1000, the Christian made November 2nd All Souls’ Day to commemorate the dead. It was celebrated with building big bonfires, doing parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angles and devils. And these three festivals, All Hallows Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, were called Halloween together.
In the 1840’s, during Irish Potato Famine, the holiday flourished into what is now modern day Halloween. Halloween arrived in North America courtesy of Irish and Scottish emigrants who brought stories of Samhain and Hallowmas, as well as tales of ghosts and spirits with them.
Halloween Custom Activities
Trick-or-treat is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go from house to house to ask for treats such as candy, toys, sometimes money, with the words: trick or treat? If they do not get any treat, they will perform mischief or prank on the house-owners or their property. In Scotland, children ask for candy by saying: The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Halloween, and by performing singing and dancing.
Dressing up in costumes is one of the most popular Halloween customs, especially for children. According to the tradition, people can frighten the ghosts and spirits away by wearing special clothing, masks, or disguises. And Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures, such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils, etc; over time, in the US, the costume selection extend to popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and genetic archetypes, such as ninjas and princesses.
C. Jack o’ lantern
Jack o’ lantern are traditionally carried by guisers on All Hallows’ Eve to frighten evil spirits. It comes from a folktale about a man named Jack who tricked the devil and had to wander the earth with a lantern. The Jack o’ lantern is made by placing a candle inside a hollowed-out pumpkin, which is carved to look like a face. And in Ireland and Scotland, the turnip was traditionally used to make lantern, but immigrants to North America used pumpkin, which is softer and larger, making it easier to carve than turnip.
D. Games and other activities
The telling of ghost stories and viewing of honor films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of TV series and Halloween-themed specials (usually aimed at children) are commonly aired on or before Halloween, while new horror films are often released theatrically before Halloween to take advantage of the atmosphere.
A common game will be played on Halloween is bobbing for apples, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water and the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple out of the tub or basin, and it is believed that this practice is derived from the ancient Roman practices in celebration of Pomona, the goddess of harvest. And there is a variant of this game, that is kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drive the fork into an apple.
Another common game is hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings, and eating them without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that will leads to a very sticky face.
Some games are played in the forms of divination:
1.A traditional Scottish form of divining one’s future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one’s shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse’s name.
2.If unmarried women sit in a dark room and gaze into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband will appear in the mirror. However, if they are destined to die before marriage, a skull will appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late 19th century and early 20th century.
3.Another game that was enjoyed in the early 1900s involved walnut shells. People will write fortunes in milk on white paper. after drying, the paper is folded and placed in walnut shells. When the shell is warmed, milk will turn brown, then the writing appears.
4.People also play fortune teller. In this game, symbols are cut out of paper and placed on a platter (Paper symbols includes: dollar sign---wealth, button---bachelorhood, thimble---spinsterhood, clothespin---poverty, rice---wedding, umbrella---journey, caldron---trouble, 4-leaf clover---good luck, penny---fortune, ring---early marriage, and key---fame). Then someone enters a dark room to put a hand on a piece of ice then lay it on a platter. The fortune will stick to the hand.
Halloween Traditional Food
A. Toffee apples: Halloween night is close to apple harvest season, so the toffee apple is a kind of common Halloween treat. This treat is made by plugging bamboo sticks into apples, and then rolling apples in toffee syrup with holding sticks, and sometimes some nuts are added.
B. Candy-corn: it has three colors---a broad yellow end, a tapered orange center and a pointed white tip; primarily made from sugar, corn syrup, confectioners wax, artificial coloring and binders by the production method called corn starch modeling which remains basically the same today.
C. Hot apple cider: it is an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcohol beverage from apples. To make this drink, apples are washed, cored, cut into quarters, and grounded into mash in the blender or food processor, then strained by the cheesecloth. And the apple cider can be served with different flavors, as the cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, or other spices can be added after the cider is heated to a temperature just below boiling.
D. Pumpkin pie: traditionally, the pie is prepared by slicing the pumpkin in half and removing seeds; heating the halves in the stove tops or the microwaves until soft to mash them in the blender; mixing the pumpkin mash with eggs, evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk, sugar, nutmeg, and other spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace); then baking in a pie shell.
E. Roasted pumpkin seeds: usually the roasted pumpkin seeds can be made in the oven through broiling or baking, or in the microwave, or in the pan. Also some seasoning can be added before roasting for creative tastes.
Related Machines for Making Halloween Food: Fruit Core Removing Machine, Fruit Mud Cutting Machine, Multifunction Nut Roaster, Hot Air Bread Oven