What do people do in Halloween?
Halloween is one of
the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is
celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before.
there's a simple reason: it is fun and it is good, clean, harmless fun
for young and old alike!
While the Irish and
Scots preferred turnips, English children made "punkies" out of large
beets (which they call beetroots), upon which they carved a design of their choice.
Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while
singing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and
asked for money. Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a
few days later - see the
History of Halloween, but recently
it has been celebrated on October 31, in addition to Guy Fawkes
Night. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were
placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed
on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as
stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the
spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also used as
fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at
night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed
that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another
year. If nuts tossed into the fire by young lovers then
exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part
however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the
spread of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. Since
followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they
saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day. However,
in recent years, the American "trick or treating" custom,
together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door,
has become a relatively popular pastime among English children
at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the
older generations) have little idea as to why they are being
asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate
their small and hopeful callers.