Young and old dress up on Halloween – especially the younger ones- and parade around the houses to demand candy according to Irish custom.
Trick-or-treaters demand costumed children, teenagers and adults on Halloween, which is celebrated on the night of October 31 to November 1. The motto: the scarier, the better!
Many associate Halloween with flashy parties, wild costumes and American-inspired customs. But the history of Halloween is different. Because the origins of the spooky festival lie in – surprise – Europe!
To be exact, it all started in Ireland, where the festival of Samhain was celebrated in pre-Christian times. At that time, Celts celebrated their harvest on October 31, the beginning of the cold season and the start of a new calendar year. They also believed that on this day, it was possible to make contact with the realm of the dead.
But things got even wilder: According to mythology, on Samhain, the dead searched for the living, who would pass away the following year. Therefore, a means of deterrence was needed: people slipped into scary costumes to scare off evil spirits during the night. They also wore frightening masks.
Excitingly, they placed small gifts (so-called “treats”) in front of the houses to appease the spirits and keep them from committing misdeeds. Even today, dressed-up kids and adults demand “trick or treats” (they play a prank).
The name Halloween developed with Christianization. In the 9th century, the church referred to the pagan festival as “All Hallows Eve” – the evening before All Saints’ Day on November 1. The Catholic Church exchanged the Samhain festival with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, but the ancient Celtic customs lived on. When Irish residents brought their custom to America in the 19th century, Halloween evolved into a real bash.
Since Halloween falls on October 31 before a public holiday, big celebrations have been really in vogue in Austria for a good two decades now. And it works best with spooky outfits, parties or carved pumpkins.
According to a WKÖ study, Austrians plan to spend an average of 46 euros on Halloween this year, which is more than last year. It’s a lucrative scare: A total turnover of 55 million euros is expected. Find out more about what’s on Halloween fans’ shopping lists here.
Carved and carved
As already mentioned, you can’t do without pumpkins with grimaces. The story behind the Halloween pumpkin faces comes from Ireland as well: when a bad guy named Jack died, God wouldn’t let him into heaven. Nor did the devil, whom Jack had tricked while he was alive, welcome him into hell. So the spurned man searched for shelter with a piece of coal that he placed in a hollowed-out turnip. When this legend reached America, the turnip had to give way to the native pumpkins. By the way, the carved lantern is also better known here as Jack O’Lantern.
Jack O’Lanterns are also easy to make for the home: Hollowed-out pumpkins with triangular eyes and creepy grins to scare guests are a must for Halloween.
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