Halloween is more and more familiar to everyone all over the world; it is held on October 31st, before the Saints’ day. Especially in United States, it is one of the biggest and most important festivals. Halloween is also thought to have been influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints' Day on November 1st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd. In this day, everyone often remembers their relatives who have already passed away. On the other hand, they often decorate their house and prepare horrible or lovely masks and clothes to enjoy this day with their friends happily. Moreover, they also hold some special parties to welcome it warmly. Nevertheless, there are still some mysteries that no one can know as well as explain about this day completely. Hence, in this essay, I will help you understand the origin of this day, and the reason why pumpkins are considered an unforgettable symbol of Halloween.

According to some historians’ research, Halloween is though to have started by the Celtic people, who lived at various areas around the world 2000 years ago. In present day, these Celtic areas are now known as Britain, France and Ireland. The Celtic people often started their new year on November 1st. This festival signaled the beginning of cold seasons and dark days. Maybe they believed that “Samhain” (pronounced sah-wen) allowed souls back to their homes on this day. In 43 A.D, Romans conquered the Celtic people, and dominated them for 400 years. In this period, there are two specific festivals of the Celtic people that remained: Feradia festival (to honor the people who passed away) and Halloween festival. In Britain, Halloween is sometimes called Nutcrack Night or Snap Apple Night because all family members sit around the stove to tell stories and eat roast peanuts or apples. On the soul’s days, the poor often “went a souling” and they received soul cakes in return for praying for the departed souls. In United Sates, the first immigrants brought their Halloween traditions. Most of these first immigrants came from Britain. For these many reasons Halloween is well- known and has been celebrated throughout America since the early 1800s.

     The next thing I want to share with you is one of the most popular symbols of Halloween: the pumpkin. And how would you think if someone asked you, “Why are pumpkins considered an unforgettable symbol of Halloween?” Perhaps, some of you will have your own answers and besides, and others will not know. Therefore, I will help you understand more about this question. According to a legend of Ireland, “Stingy Jack” was a character that was always drunk, but so intelligent. One day, he invited Satan (the devil) to wine. However, he did not want to pay money for wine, so he thought of a good ruse; that Satan would turn into a coin to buy wine. Believing Jack’s seducements, Satan turned into a coin immediately. After that, Jack picked up the coin rapidly and put it in his pocket. Unfortunately, there was a silver cross in Jack’s pocket. That is the reason why Satan could not return to his true body. Jack laid down two conditions with Satan: not to annoy him, nor detain his soul after dying. Finally, Jack died. The spirit of Jack ascended to the gates of the heaven, but God refused to let Jack in because of his tricks. Therefore, his spirit went to hell. Yet, Satan expelled his soul from hell because of his promise and gave him burning charcoal to find his way in the darkness. Jack wandered in the unending darkness between heaven and hell. Nowadays, people often make lanterns out of pumpkins to help Jack warm himself and find his way in the darkness. Furthermore, on Halloween night, people often hang these pumpkins in front of their house to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. That is why carved pumpkins are known as Jack-O-Lanterns.

          In short, Halloween is an interesting and meaningful festival for many people. Maybe, on this day, people not only play with their friends enthusiastically but also pray for the souls of the departed. I think that you can discover many other things about Halloween at AGU English Speaking Club. Halloween is coming!  You should prepare beautiful clothes and masks to welcome. I hope that all of you will have a happy and meaningful Halloween celebration.

Kim Tuyet_11AV

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