Halloween


Liz Waid and Joshua Leo look at Halloween, a popular holiday in North America. People celebrate similar holidays in many other countries as well.

Transcript


(This program is a special release for the holiday of Halloween, October 31. It is from our archives and contains old information about our website and email address.)

Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for Spotlight. I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Children

Trick or treat!

Voice 1

Every October 31st children all across America do something unusual. They put on strange clothes. They may even paint their faces to look like someone different. They walk around to different houses. They knock on the door of the house. And then they ask for a sweet candy treat!

Children

Trick or treat!

Voice 1

This is the holiday of Halloween.

Voice 2

People all around the world celebrate holidays like Halloween. But they celebrate them in different ways. Today’s Spotlight is on Halloween!

Voice 1

The tradition of Halloween is very old. In fact, historians, people who study history, believe that Halloween traditions began as long as 2,500 years ago. They believe these traditions started in ancient Ireland, with the Celtic people.

Voice 2

The Celts had two seasons - summer and winter. The bright half of the year was summer. And the dark half was winter. They believed that the bright half of the year ended around October 31. After this day, came the beginning of the winter season. The Celtic people called this change in season Samhain, which means the ‘end of summer.’

Voice 1

Samhain was a special time. It was a celebration of the end of summer, or life, and the beginning of winter, or death. So it was also a frightening time. The Celts believed that there was a natural barrier between the living and the dead. But, around this time, the barrier disappeared. They believed that spirits could rise from the dead around the time of Samhain. They could come among the living. And the spirits could even occupy the body of a living person during the next year.

Voice 2

Historians say that during the celebration of Samhain the Celts dressed themselves in different clothes. They walked through their villages making lots of noise. And they caused disorder in the village. They believed that this frightened the spirits away. Some historians also believe that the Celts sacrificed humans or animals during this celebration as a warning to the spirits.

Voice 1

Other people groups in other parts of the world celebrated similar holidays. Around the year 400, Christians came to Ireland. They began to celebrate Christian holidays at the same time the Celts celebrated their holidays.

Voice 2

For many years the church had a celebration in honour of saints - special people in the Church. They called this celebration ‘All Saints Day,’ or ‘All Hallows Day.’ It was a day to celebrate these special, or ‘holy,’ people. They celebrated ‘All Hallows Day’ on November 1. And after a time, people began calling the Samhain celebration ‘All Hallows Eve.’ That is because it happened on the evening, or night, before ‘All Hallows Day.’ Language is always changing. After a while, people shortened the name ‘All Hallows Eve’ to ‘Halloween’ and that is what we call it today!

Voice 1

For many people today, Halloween is a very important time. It is a day to celebrate the people who have lived before us. Many people believe that Halloween started in the Americas. But that is not true!

Voice 2

Irish settlers brought Halloween traditions to the United States in the middle 1800’s. But Americans did not widely celebrate Halloween until almost 100 years later - during the early 1900’s. Today, children all across the United States dress up on October 31. They go from door to door demanding candy by saying ‘trick or treat.’ And some still cause trouble too - just like the ancient Celts celebrating Samhain!

Voice 1

People celebrate holidays like Halloween all around the world. Many countries and people groups have a celebration to remember people who have died. They do not always call these celebrations ‘Halloween’. And they do not always celebrate them on October 31. But the celebrations all have similar meanings. So, how do you celebrate Halloween?

Voice 2

On Halloween night in Belgium, people light candles. These candles help people remember their dead relatives.

Voice 1

In the Czech Republic on Halloween, people place chairs to sit on by the fire. There is one chair for each member of the family. And there is one chair for each family member’s spirit.

Voice 2

German people traditionally put away their knives on Halloween night. They do not want to harm spirits returning to earth.

Voice 1

In China, people do not celebrate Halloween. But they have a very similar celebration called ‘Yue Lan.’ It is the ‘Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.’ The people there believe that spirits visit and travel through the world for 24 hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money. They believe that the spirits can see these burned pictures. And the burned pictures bring calm and peace to the ghosts. This celebration is not a time for games or dressing up. Instead, it is a day to remember and respect the memory of dead ancestors.

Voice 2

In Latin America and Spain, the people celebrate ‘El Dia De Los Muertos’ - ‘the day of the dead.’ It is a time to remember friends and family members who have died. A three-day celebration begins on October 31. During this time, families make special places in their houses to honour their dead friends and family. They place candy, photographs, fresh water, flowers, and food and drink in this special place. They burn candles and strong smelling incense to help spirits find their way home. On the last day of the celebration, called ‘All Soul’s Day’, living family members eat a meal at the gravesite where dead friends and family are buried. They tell stories and remember good times of when the person was alive.

Voice 1

And the tradition of Halloween is still popular in Ireland too! Today, on Halloween, Irish boys and girls, children and adults, dress themselves in frightening costumes. They dress like ghosts, witches, or other frightening creatures. The Irish people light big fires. Many children go around to different houses. They ask for fruits, nuts, or sweets.

Voice 2

As you can see, Halloween celebrations are popular all over the world. Halloween is a day for remembering. But it is also a day for having fun! Here at Spotlight, we would like to wish you a happy Halloween - any way you celebrate it!

Voice 1

Liz Waid wrote and produced this program. The voices you heard were from the United States. Computer users can hear more programs, read our scripts and see our word list on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This program is called “Halloween.”

Voice 2

We love to hear comments and questions from our listeners. How do you celebrate Halloween? Write to us by e-mail. Our e-mail address is radio @ English . net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight. Goodbye!

Question:

Do you celebrate Halloween or a similar holiday? If you do, how do you celebrate it?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
jellynhi
said on July 31, 2012

Why don’t VietNamese people celebrating Halloween???>< I can’t wait for the first Halloween party in VietNam, so I can dress up like a witch!!!

Avatar Spotlight
Mỹ Hằng
said on October 30, 2016

Hi all, i come from vietnam, today i want to share some information about Halloween in my country.
Halloween is not popular in VN. On this day, only young people celebrate it, they put on ghost costumes, strange clothers, paint face or wear mark ( they very cleverly disguise so that no one should recognize them) to scare people. But after that they give candy or cake to say ” sory”. In trade center, supermarket, cinema Halloween were decorated by ghost pictures, dummy, face mark ( with blood). Halloween become very close with Vietnamese.

Avatar Spotlight
Hen Xui
said on October 30, 2016

It is raining and I have celebrated Halloween at home :DDD

Avatar Spotlight
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on October 31, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Monday 31, October 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid and Joshua Leo:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!

No, I do not.  But, at schools Halloween party has been celebrated by teachers and students every year. Also, Halloween is celebrated by children and parents every year here at the building where I live. I wish you that Have a nice Halloween Day.

The best regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on November 05, 2016

I think that Halloween festival does not belong to Christ or Christianity, and that it is a Western festival exclusively and belongs to Western culture.
But quite a celebration of fun and joy.
I remember a series of Halloween films and how the celebrations turned into a tragedy!
God bless you

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on November 05, 2016

The historians’ report on possible beginning the traditions of Halloween in ancient Ireland 2.500 years ago is interesting very much just as information in which way this holiday is celebrated in different countries.
In my country, the Czech Republic we are celebrating so called ‘‘Memory of Dead’’ on November 2th, it means putting flowers and burning candles on tombs at graveyard. In this time we are remembering all close people they have died.
On the contrary, the young population is celebrating rather ‘‘typical Halloween’’ in a funnier way using varied colour horrifying clothes, masks and visiting their relatives or friends.
The tradition of Halloween is old, however, still popular around the world apparently.
Thanks Spotlight team for another great article!
Greetings!