Halloween is typically a time where we celebrate all things ghastly, but not everything about October 31st is ghoulish.
The occasion is thought to date back to a tradition adopted by the Celts, more than 2000 years ago. November 1st was traditionally their New Years Day, and the night before was seen as a time when the living and dead came together.
However, it wasn’t until nearly a thousand years later that the Europeans came up with the term ‘Hallows Eve’. By this stage, November 1st marked All Saints Day. This was a special holy day to honour the saints and other people who died for their religion. The night before was called Hallows Eve, which later became Halloween.
Like the Celts, the Europeans also believed that the spirits would pay them a visit on Halloween. They worried that the spirits may harm them, so dressed up in all kinds of costumes as a protective measure. They thought that if they pretended to be dead, the spirits would leave them alone.
What about the pumpkins?
The tradition of Halloween has evolved somewhat over the years. As the celebrations were spread worldwide by immigrating Europeans, traditions were adapted to suit local climates. For example, in Europe people were sometimes seen carrying turnips with candles in, pumpkins were more readily available overseas- hence the modern day Jack O’Lanterns.
Trick or treat
The concept of ‘Trick or Treat’ stems from the ancient belief that the visiting ghouls would knock on doors in search of money or food. If they were turned away empty-handed, they would curse the unlucky homeowner.
An important part of history
These days Halloween isn’t celebrated in religious circles, however it is still seen as a fun occasion for children. Halloween plays an important part in European history and should be seen as an excellent opportunity to teach children why we celebrate traditions.
The importance of role play
Besides teaching an important part of history, Halloween is the perfect opportunity to teach children about role play. Role play is a simple concept where children get into character and act out a role or real-life context. This can help develop communication and language skills, develop social skills, encourage children to express their ideas and feelings and it also sparks creativity and imagination.
Encourage your children to get their 5-a-day with these healthy smoothie recipes. Serve in a decorated mason jar or clear glass.
4 fresh oranges
2 cups ice
1/3 cup milk
1-2 tbsp honey
Blend until smooth.
Scary Mason Jars
Cut out the Jack O’Lantern’s mouth, eyes and nose from black electrical tape and stick all over your jar. Use creative license liberally.
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