Halloween is a tradition celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets. It is celebrated in parts of the Western world, though most commonly in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and with increasing popularity in Australia and New Zealand. Halloween originated among the Celts in Ireland, Britain and France as the Pagan Celtic harvest festival, Samhain. Irish, Scots, Calan Gaeaf in Welsh and other immigrants brought versions of the traditions to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.
The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe’en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before “All Hallows’ Day” (also known as “All Saints’ Day”). In Ireland, the name was All Hallows’ Eve (often shortened to Hallow Eve), and though seldom used today, it is still a well-accepted label. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Pope Gregory III moved the old Christian feast of All Saints Day to November 1 to give Halloween a Christian interpretation .
Halloween is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the púca, a mischievous spirit.
Halloween is often associated with the occult. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when the spiritual world can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent (e.g. Catalan mythology about witches, Irish tales of the Sídhe)
In the Philippines, Halloween is not as big an event as other countries have it where people go out of their way to dress up and celebrate. However, with the country being heavily influenced by US culture and media, I know it has been several years already where bigger cities have sort of embraced it. Some buildings and malls do decorate for Halloween during the month of or when the end of October draws near. Although a lot skip it too in favor of Christmas decorations straight away. Others may organize Halloween-themed parties and events complete with costumes and such in schools or offices, and maybe likely at the more popular local bars and big-ish clubs. Some TV productions also put in a more Halloween-y content in their programming, such as feature stories of ghosts and other scary phenomenon.
The more celebrated events around this time of the year are the All Saints’ Day and the All Souls’ Day which happens on November 1 and 2, respectively. These affairs are more religious in nature, they are Catholic/Christian events after all. Here in the Philippines November 1st is an official non-working holiday, though at some point in the past I remember that November 2 use to be also. Filipinos would flock to cemeteries on these days to visit their dearly departed. Many people at some point, perhaps even up to now, would keep vigil for the night up until the wee hours of the morning to say prayers, but most of all catch up with the rest of the family and relatives. Sometimes it is almost like a party. Yes, people bringing food and booze at the grave are not uncommon sights. I suppose in recent years there have been some restrictions imposed about that weird practice.
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