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Halloween was originally a pagan holiday
celebrated by Celtic people and born from the pagan holiday "Samhain".
Samhain is a holiday that celebrates the dark season of the Celtic year. Gallic people also celebrated this holiday; which was called "Samonios". Samonios has been replaced in Gallic countries by Christian celebrations.
Samhain was celebrated three days before and three days after November 1st and the origin of there was no carved pumpkin nor trick or treating. People had a lantern made out of a turnip. The celebration was strictly observed by the whole society and gave the opportunity to every barbarian to eat, drink and have fun.
Over the centuries, continental Europe converted to Christianity and abandoned Samonios in favor of All Saints Day and Samhain became All Hallow's Eve.
However, the Halloween that we currently celebrate has nothing in common with Samhain.
Halloween and All Saints Day are still interrelated because Halloween means "The Night Before the Feast of All Saints" and "All Hallow's Day" is our Continental All Saints Day.
All Hallow's Eve; which evolved during the Christianization of European populations, was imported in America by European colonists and the current Halloween holiday was created by the Irish emigrants.
In Belgium, two villages still celebrate Samonios (Samhain), born from All Saints Day, Grindin and Saint Gregory holidays. One of these villages is Gouy-Lez-Pieton. A friend of mine lives in Gouy and when I talk about Halloween, she says: "We did not replace Saint Nicholas holiday by Christmas so, we will not replace our All Saints Day and our Day Of The Dead by Halloween!" However, she agreed to organize a Halloween party with me next year.
Here are some countries which celebrate Halloween:
If some continental European countries adopted Halloween, this has not been without difficulty. Indeed, we consider this celebration being too "American Marketing" style. European people give more value to their culture and traditions than to commercial events.
Belgian people celebrate Halloween since more than ten years but Gouy-Lez-Pieton refuses to adopt it, preferring to celebrate their own Samhain-style holiday. Even if Belgian people organize a Day Before Christmas dinner, they still offer gifts to children on December 6th and not on December 25th. So, I doubt that my country will replace All Saints Day by Halloween.
On the other hand, Belgian people do not open their doors to unknown persons - including children - and we are not welcomed to ask for candies. By the way, many children are fighting in the streets to steal candy from others.
French people think that this holiday is too commercial and while this country finally adopted Halloween in the late 1990s, it is now less appreciated. There are very few children ringing at the doors and asking for sweets.
English people celebrate the Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th and adopted many customs from Samhain. These festivities are marked by torchlight parades where children use masks made from beets and pumpkins.
Scottish people practice their ancient pagan rites. Children wear costumes and cut scary faces into large rutabagas and place a candle inside them. They receive candy when they provide a nice entertainment to their neighbors.
Trick or treating originated in Ireland, so as usual, Irish children in disguise will enjoy the Halloween festivities, they will carry lanterns cut into large rutabagas. Children will be received by their neighbors with sweets and Irish houses will be decorated with Halloween lights.
Spanish people enjoy each kind of holidays and parties. Their kids will then enjoy receiving candies from their neighbors and adults will have the opportunity to have a Halloween party in each and every club. Spanish people also organize many Halloween parades.
Portugal does not celebrate Halloween; Portuguese people celebrate the Day of the Dead by organizing feasts at the cemetery.
Some regions of Italy organize Halloween Events and it seems that the Italian children enjoy this holiday.
Other European cities and clubs organize commercial events for Halloween (mainly for tourists), newspapers publish articles dedicated to Halloween, but I am unsure that people really practice Halloween. There are very few information about Halloween festivities in Europe; especially Central and eastern Europe. They stick to their own All Saints Day and Day Of The Dead.
Australia and New Zealand begin to enjoy Halloween.
USA, Canada, and Quebec: Halloween is very much appreciated and I think that only some worldwide disaster should prevent these people to celebrate Halloween.
Since some years, there is a growing interest on the part of the Chinese population for western events: Chinese people enjoy Halloween parties.
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Prosperity66 More Info On Halloween, Halloween Costumes, Halloween Crafts, Halloween Recipes, Halloween Traditions at The Happy Halloween, Your Online Halloween Guide and receive 20 Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas.