Halloween is not celebrated in all countries and regions of the world, and among those that do the traditions and importance of the celebration vary significantly. In Scotland and Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include children dressing up in costume going “guising”, holding parties, while other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires, and having firework displays. Mass transatlantic immigration in the 19th century popularized Halloween in North America, and celebration in the United States and Canada has had a significant impact on how the event is observed in other nations. This larger North American influence, particularly in iconic and commercial elements, has extended to places such as South America, Australia, New Zealand continental Europe, Japan, and other parts of East Asia.
Some of the traditional celebrations include trick-or-treating attending costume parties, carving Jack-O-lanterns, bonfires, apple-bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories and watching horror films.
Development of artefacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o’-lanterns springs from the “souling “custom of carving turnips or neeps into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century
The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and the Mummy). Among the earliest works on the subject of Halloween is from the Scottish poet John Mayne in 1780, who made note of pranks at Halloween; “What fearfu’ pranks ensue!”, as well as the supernatural associated with the night, “Bogies” (ghosts), influencing Robert Burns’ Halloween 1785. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.
So, there you have it a little bit of history and some interesting facts on the origins of the Halloween celebrations. In modern times of course the traditions have spread around the globe mainly following British colonial expansion with the mass emigration from the British Isles to countries around the world
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