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Go ahead and get started. Halloween
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This article is about the observance. For other uses, see Halloween (disambiguation).
"All Hallows' Eve" redirects here. For other uses, see All Hallows' Eve (disambiguation).
A jack-o'-lantern, one of the symbols of Halloween representing the souls of the deadAlso called Hallowe'enAllhallowe'enAll Hallows' EveAll Saints' Eve
Observed by Western Christians and many non-Christians around the worldSignificance First day of AllhallowtideCelebrations Trick-or-treating, costume parties, making jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, divination, apple bobbing, visiting haunted house attractionsObservances Church services, prayer, fasting, and vigilsDate 31 OctoberNext time 31 October 2014 (2014-10)
Frequency annualRelated to Totensonntag, Blue Christmas, Thursday of the Dead, Samhain, Hop-tu-Naa, Calan Gaeaf, Allantide, Day of the Dead, Reformation Day, All Saints' Day, Mischief Night (cf. vigils)
Halloween or Hallowe'en (/ˌhæləˈwiːn, -oʊˈiːn, ˌhɑːl-/; a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening"), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It initiates the triduum of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. Within Allhallowtide, the traditional focus of All Hallows' Eve revolves around the theme of using "humor and ridicule to confront the power of death."According to many scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots.Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related "guising"), attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted house attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows' Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although in other locations, these solemn customs are less pronounced in favor of a more commercialized and secularized celebration. Because many Western Christian denominations encourage, although most no longer require, abstinence from meat on All Hallows' Eve, the tradition of eating certain vegetarian foods for this vigil day developed, including the consumption of apples, colcannon, cider, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.Contents [hide]
1 Etymology2 History
2.1 Gaelic and Welsh influence2.2 Christian influence2.3 Spread to North America3 Symbols4 Trick-or-treating and guising
4.1 Costumes4.2 UNICEF5 Games and other activities6 Haunted attractions7 Food8 Religious observances
8.1.1 Christianity8.1.2 Other religions9 Around the world10 See also11 References12 Further reading13 External linksEtymology
The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word "Halloween" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word…