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Off topic: Who's afraid of Halloween?!
Thread poster: lingomania
lingomania
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
Oct 10, 2007

I know I'm quite grown up for this, but one of the best times of the year for me is All Hallows' Eve or Halloween. Many people have come to criticize this FUN celebration on the basis of who-knows-what-and-why and simply forgetting (or wanting to forget) that it's all F.U.N. for children AND adults. Comments welcome of course!

Robert.


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Marianela Melleda  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 12:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends on the country and traditions Oct 11, 2007

In Chile Halloween is not a tradition, just a foreign custom imported a few years ago, mainly promoted by candies' manufacturers.

My children, now 13 and 16 have never been interested in Halloween. When they were little, they even felt afraid of disguises. Anyway, there are some little children who do get disguised and go out with their parents asking for candies and I usually have some to give out.

Anyway, Lingomania, I would like to know what do YOU do on Halloween that makes you feel so excited.

Marianela


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:50
Member
English to Turkish
What is Halloween? Oct 11, 2007

Since people of all backgrounds visit this forum and since Halloween is a culture-specific event, celebration, feast (...?), would you take this occasion to tell us a bit? For me it is pretty attractive, I've got to admit, because I am a big fan of horror and gore (and for the same reason, it is also the title of a favorite movie of my high-school times - or, should I not have told all this before an educated public?). But what's it all about really, and why are the candies? I have the impression that it's basically a US tradition making its way into other Christian countries. Is it so, or is it a Christian tradition at large, or something totally different in origin? And, what is celebrated in Halloween, if at all?

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 19:50
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Feast of the Dead Oct 11, 2007

This is a very old tradition dating back to the era of shamanism. Christian church made it into All Saints Day, but the real Feast of the Dead was when the ancestors came home again and were treated as honorable guests with food, drink and sauna.
Andrus Kivirähk's novel "Rehepapp" includes such an incident in an old Estonian village. I wonder if Rehepapp has been translated already into non-ugric languages. Great novel, I saw it on stage recently in Helsinki.

I thought previously too that this was some American import, but in fact the habit dates far back, befor Columbus, Jesus, even Moses, and was probably part of all aboriginal cultures.

[Bearbeitet am 2007-10-11 11:20]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Día de Muertos Oct 11, 2007

Día de Muertos (All Souls Day or Day of the Dead), November 2, including Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on Nov.1 are a time for a fascinating celebration held in Mexico at about the same time as Halloween and in many ways related, but it is a very different and very colorful tradition firmly rooted in Mexican culture.

It goes far beyond candy and kids dressed up in costumes, which the Mexicans have also been known to engage in.

While I am not intimately familiar with all the lore involved, suffice to say it is quite rich and extensive. You can find ample information on it right here on the Net. Those who are from far-away countries, check it out!


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:50
English to German
+ ...
In Germany Oct 11, 2007

we have the Christian holiday "Allerheiligen" (all saints' or all hallows' day) on the 1. of November, which is dedicated to the Saints. The day after that is "Allerseelen" (All souls' day) which is dedicated to all the people who have died. As far as I know, they are both of Roman Catholic origin.

The way these days are celebrated here has nothing to do with wearing costumes and going from door to door. This habit has only been imported lately, I think to make people spent extra money on costumes and decoration and sweets.

In Germany you wear costumes on Karneval, Fasching or Fastnacht celebrations which occur in the period from 11.11. until Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) when the religious fasting time starts, which is usually in February or March, 6 weeks before Eastertide. Karneval parades are usually during the last week before Aschermittwoch, mainly on Monday and Tuesday (Rosenmontag and Fastnacht). On these days children in some regions also go from door to door wearing costumes and asking for sweets.

In other regions there is the tradition of lantern processions on St. Martin's Day (11. November) and then children go by the doors with paper lanterns and candles, and sing songs about St. Martin and about their lantern in return for a treat.

In my opinion we already can have all the fun and do not need to import Halloween as another occasion of coming together. I think it is special for the children to do this going from door to door once a year and I liked it very much when I was a child. But Halloween comes rather as a marketing strategy so our family does not take part in it.

I once celebrated it with a US family who stayed here for one year and it was all fun because it was natural. If you feel like doing it, just do. I just don't.


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lingomania
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly the replies I expected Oct 11, 2007

Good, at least no-one here stated that Halloween is a dreaded feast of EVIL! It does have Christian/Catholic origins, but its REAL origins go beyond the realm of time. The ancient Druids knew about this "realm of time" very well. Some say its origins lie in nature, that is, natural things especially referring to pumpkins, trees (the Druids worshipped them as gods) and other similar things. Halloween is as natural to man as anything on this planet and the Catholic religion took this aspect and 'changed' it around a little because it seemed to be too pagan in context. Funny how the Catholic religion has fused with most neo or former pagan "cults" e.g. the Creole culture and voodoo cults in primis. There is extensive proof of this in the Net and elsewhere.

Rob


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lingomania
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Have F.U.N. Oct 11, 2007

Marianela Melleda wrote:

In Chile Halloween is not a tradition, just a foreign custom imported a few years ago, mainly promoted by candies' manufacturers.

My children, now 13 and 16 have never been interested in Halloween. When they were little, they even felt afraid of disguises. Anyway, there are some little children who do get disguised and go out with their parents asking for candies and I usually have some to give out.

Anyway, Lingomania, I would like to know what do YOU do on Halloween that makes you feel so excited.

Marianela


Apart from the fact that I always have a smile on my face, but the smile gets bigger at Halloween and NO, it's not because of the trick-or-treats or the costumes, but due to the hidden awareness that we can have pure, simple fun and laugh heartily (meet up with friends, colleagues, etc. at monster bashes, etc.)....in our hearts......at the REAL horror out there........unfortunately!

Rob


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Michael and Raimunda Poe  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dia das bruxas/Witches Day Oct 11, 2007

In Brazil it is called Witches Day. Literally a day for witches. So here it is not the fun dress up and go get candy like it is in the USA.

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lingomania
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Who celebrates it? Oct 11, 2007

Michael and Raimunda Poe wrote:

In Brazil it is called Witches Day. Literally a day for witches. So here it is not the fun dress up and go get candy like it is in the USA.


Logical question, if I may: who celebrates it and what do they do on this day if it's Witches Day??!

Rob


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Marsha Way  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:50
Spanish to English
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I MUST give my 2 cents here! Oct 11, 2007

I ADORE everything autumn! I was raised in Pennsylvania, USA and am very nostalgic about the change of seasons, the cool, refreshing breezes that tell us summer is leaving and winter is coming, and the beautiful landscape made from the colored leaves. Also, raking fallen leaves into piles and jumping into them, and high school football! Wow! I think because Halloween falls in that time makes it my favorite holiday, too! I remember trick-or-treating with my sisters, going to costume parties, bobbing for apples. Since I have lived in Mexico, I have also greatly enjoyed setting up an altar for the dead, the smell of cempazuchitl and incense. However, I become very disturbed when I hear people imply that their Day of the Dead celebrations are better and Halloween is just a commercial trick to make us buy costumes. They are more closely related than most think. We sent up altars and set out food and drink for our loved ones, who return on this day. The anglosaxon celebration is also based on spirits returning, but they believed they were bad spirits, so they dressed in costumes to make them think they were already dead so they wouldn't be taken. The idea of trick-or-treating comes from the same route as the altars- we leave food out for our loved ones, we also give treats to these "ghouls" hoping they will not try to take our souls! The whole legend of the Jack o'lantern is worth looking into, and if people take a little time to get to know what we celebrate on this day, they will see that someone didn't just say "Ok, I'll dress in a costume and you give me candy"!, but that rather there is a whole history behind the traditions.
So, I agree with you. I love Halloween, and it is also a fantastic time to make my students carve jack o'lanterns, study its origins, and even learn more about their own traditions!


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Michael and Raimunda Poe  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Witches Oct 11, 2007

lingomania wrote:

Michael and Raimunda Poe wrote:

In Brazil it is called Witches Day. Literally a day for witches. So here it is not the fun dress up and go get candy like it is in the USA.


Logical question, if I may: who celebrates it and what do they do on this day if it's Witches Day??!

Rob


Witches, not the broomstick and black cat kind, well maybe the black cat, lol. I've actually seen interviews with witches on this day on television. Sorry I can't say more, it's just not an area I get into that much, but leave it to say it is a day for real witches. I don't know what they do, I am evangelical Christian so I don't get into that stuff.


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Michael and Raimunda Poe  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm from PA too! Oct 11, 2007

Marsha Way wrote:

I ADORE everything autumn! I was raised in Pennsylvania, USA and am very nostalgic about the change of seasons,


I lived about 45 minutes outside of Harrisburg, southcentral PA what area did you live in?


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:50
English to German
+ ...
But who would say something like that? Oct 11, 2007

Marsha Way wrote:
However, I become very disturbed when I hear people imply that their Day of the Dead celebrations are better and Halloween is just a commercial trick to make us buy costumes.


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lingomania
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Your area Oct 11, 2007

Marsha Way wrote:

I ADORE everything autumn! I was raised in Pennsylvania, USA and am very nostalgic about the change of seasons, the cool, refreshing breezes that tell us summer is leaving and winter is coming, and the beautiful landscape made from the colored leaves. Also, raking fallen leaves into piles and jumping into them, and high school football! Wow! I think because Halloween falls in that time makes it my favorite holiday, too! I remember trick-or-treating with my sisters, going to costume parties, bobbing for apples. Since I have lived in Mexico, I have also greatly enjoyed setting up an altar for the dead, the smell of cempazuchitl and incense. However, I become very disturbed when I hear people imply that their Day of the Dead celebrations are better and Halloween is just a commercial trick to make us buy costumes. They are more closely related than most think. We sent up altars and set out food and drink for our loved ones, who return on this day. The anglosaxon celebration is also based on spirits returning, but they believed they were bad spirits, so they dressed in costumes to make them think they were already dead so they wouldn't be taken. The idea of trick-or-treating comes from the same route as the altars- we leave food out for our loved ones, we also give treats to these "ghouls" hoping they will not try to take our souls! The whole legend of the Jack o'lantern is worth looking into, and if people take a little time to get to know what we celebrate on this day, they will see that someone didn't just say "Ok, I'll dress in a costume and you give me candy"!, but that rather there is a whole history behind the traditions.
So, I agree with you. I love Halloween, and it is also a fantastic time to make my students carve jack o'lanterns, study its origins, and even learn more about their own traditions!


Hi there. Well, yes I'm sure people who live in your area/state are quite familiar with all things Hallloween. My English teacher at high school, Mr.Smith, was from Pennsylvania and he let us in on many things about good 'ol USA , it's traditiions, history and culture (thanx Smithie *WINK*). You are right, non-Anglo-Saxon peoples seem not to "feel" the Halloween tradition! Unfortunately, the silver screen has contributed negatively to showing one side of this celebration only and trick-and-treating and costumes have enhanced the commercial side too. We should all look deeper into the real meaning of Halloween lest we fall into the clichè trap of things.

Rob

[Edited at 2007-10-11 22:21]


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