Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.
And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.
Every October 31st children all across the United States do something strange. They imagine they are someone or something else. They put on strange clothes. They may even paint their faces or wear false hair. They walk around from house to house. They knock on the door of the house. When someone opens the door all the children say the same thing:
Trick or treat!
The person in the house gives them a sweet candy treat! The children do this again and again for one house to the next. This is the holiday of Halloween. Today’s Spotlight is on Halloween - and other holidays like it.
The tradition of Halloween is very old. In fact, people who study history believe that Halloween traditions began as long as 2,500 years ago. They believe these traditions started in ancient Ireland, with the Celtic people.
The Celts of Ireland counted two parts of the year. The bright half of the year was summer. And the dark half was winter. They believed that the bright half of the year ended around October 31. After this day, winter was coming. The Celtic people called this change in season Samhain, which means the ‘end of summer.’
Samhain was a special time. It was both a celebration of the end of summer, or life, and the beginning of winter, or death. So it was also a frightening time. The Celts believed that there was a natural barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead. But, at Samhain, the barrier disappeared. They believed that spirits could rise from the dead and come among the living.
Historians say that during the celebration of Samhain the Celts dressed themselves in different clothes. They walked through their villages making lots of noise. And they caused disorder in the village. They believed that this frightened the spirits away. Some historians also believe that the Celts sacrificed humans or animals during this celebration as a warning to the spirits.
Other people groups in other parts of the world also celebrated similar holidays. Around the year 400, Christians came to Ireland. They began to celebrate Christian holidays at the same time the Celts celebrated their holidays.
For many years the Christians had a celebration in honour of saints - special people in the Church. They called this celebration ‘All Saints Day,’ or ‘All Hallows Day.’ It was a day to celebrate these special saints, or ‘holy,’ people. They celebrated ‘All Hallows Day’ on November 1st.
The night before a special day is called an “eve”. After a time, people began calling the Samhain celebration ‘All Hallows Eve.’ Since language is always changing, people soon shortened the name. Instead of ‘All Hallows Eve’, they called it ‘Halloween’, and that is what we call it today!
In the 16th century, another tradition began. In the days leading up to the Samhain celebration, the people of Ireland and Britain dressed in different clothes. They went house to house. At each house, they sang songs to the dead. Then the people of the house gave them small sweet cakes.
Irish settlers brought Halloween traditions to the United States in the middle 1800s. But people there did not really celebrate Halloween until almost 100 years later - during the early 1900s. For most children today in the US, Canada, the UK and other places, Halloween is about candy and fun clothes. But other people have a day like this to celebrate the people who have lived and died before us.
Many countries have a celebration to remember people who have died. Some celebrations are at different times of the year. They do not always call these celebrations ‘Halloween’. But the celebrations have similar meanings. So, how do you celebrate Halloween?
On Halloween in Belgium, there are parades and scary decorations like spiders and ghosts. But people also light candles. These candles help people remember their dead relatives.
In the Czech Republic they celebrate Dusicky. People visit the place where a family member is buried.
In China, people do not celebrate Halloween. But they have a very similar celebration called ‘Yue Lan’. It is the ‘Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.’ The people there believe that spirits visit the world for 24 hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money. They believe that the spirits can see these burned pictures. And the burned pictures bring calm and peace to the ghosts. This celebration is not a time for games or dressing up. Instead, it is a day to remember and respect the memory of dead ancestors.
In Mexico, the people celebrate ‘Dia De Muertos’ - ‘the day of the dead.’ Some other Latin American countries also celebrate this holiday. It is not a scary day. It is a time to remember friends and family members who have died. A three-day celebration begins on October 31. During this time, families make special places in their homes to honour their dead friends and family. They place candy, photographs, fresh water, flowers, and food and drink in this special place. They burn candles and strong smelling incense to help spirits find their way home. The last day of the celebration is called ‘All Soul’s Day’. On this day, living family members eat a meal at the gravesite where dead friends and family are buried. They tell stories and remember good times of when the person was alive.
And the tradition of Halloween is still popular in Ireland too! Today, on Halloween, Irish boys and girls dress like ghosts, witches, or other frightening creatures. They light big fires. Many children go around to different houses. They ask for fruits, nuts, or sweets.
Phụ huynh đăng ký nhận tư vấn chuyên sâu tại: bit.ly/Tuvan_ams