Of all foreign celebrations, Halloween is certainly my favourite one. There are many theories about its origins, but it is believed that it started in the British Islands centuries ago, based on festivities dating back to the Roman Times when they celebrated the dead. But the name Halloween came up in the 16th century in a variation of All Hallows Evening (coming from All Hallows-mass, a Christian celebration of all souls and saints held on November 1st). No matter what the actual beginning was, Halloween revolves around the dead, witches, magic and horror-like situations, but always with the purpose of having fun.
Halloween symbols and modern traditions have been added to it over the times, such as the Jack-o’-lanterns, faced-carved pumpkins with a candle inside, and the famous tradition of kids going door to door dressed up in costumes asking for ” tricks or treats”, when they get candies from neighbours.
Nowadays virtually every country influenced by the American culture celebrates it somehow. In Brazil, it was first introduced by the English schools with the purpose of displaying a little bit of the Anglo-Saxon culture, and it has become more popular each year.
Now, apart from the lanterns and the horror movies, why is Halloween so anticipated?
Well, speaking for myself, I had never thought it could be that much fun. At least until the morning of an October 31st when I was living abroad and left home to go to school. Picture yourself stepping on the street, all sleepy and feeling the chilly breeze of the early fall, and then spotting Spider Man taking his garbage out. Not really sure if I was still dreaming or not, I took the subway only to get face-to-face with Snow White standing next to me, near Tinker Bell and a Zombie-like doctor with an eye patch. I didn’t know adults were into dressing up in costumes as well, and was even more surprised to learn that many offices and companies actually encourage employees to go to work like that, having competitions and giving out prizes. That was the moment I started to see the real fun of it: you see, they don’t celebrate carnival the way we do, so Halloween is THE time of the year when they can “be someone else” for one day. It may have started out as a scary costume tradition but nowadays you can pretend to be a vampire, a superhero or even an infamous celebrity. Anything goes, as long as you enjoy yourself!
Going to a fully decorated bar or to a special night at the movies to watch classic horror films and meeting all these weird-looking people out and about is really a unique experience, especially in a culture that we tend to consider more reserved than ours.
I know I’ll celebrate it out with my friends. CEL LEP also promotes a bash for the kids and teens in ABC that always rock (please talk to the staff at your branch for further information).
What about you, how do you like to celebrate Halloween?