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Halloween In South Africa

The history and origins of Halloween

Halloween, from the original name "All Hallows' Eve(ning)", is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31. Historically, Halloween originally incorporated traditions from pagan harvest festivals and festivals honouring the dead, particularly the Celtic Samhain, although the Samhain connection is disputed. Original Halloween celebrations included the lighting of bonfires and wearing costumes to ward of roaming ghosts and tell fortunes.

In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated 1 November as a time to honor saints and martyrs. This holiday was called "All Saint's Day", and incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before thus became known as All Hallows Eve, and later, Halloween like we know it today.

In the 1920's and 1930's, the tradition of Trick-or-Treating was also revived. This proved a relatively inexpensive way for communities to share the Halloween celebrations. Thus, a new tradition was born, and continued to grow. American spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween.

Trick or Treat!

The tradition of Trick-or-Treating most likely dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During these festivals, poor citizens would beg for food and received pastries called "soul cakes" from the passerby, in return for the beggars' promise to pray for their dead relatives. This practice, which was called "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children.

Modern Halloween celebrations

Modern Halloween traditions includes the carving of jack-o'-lanterns and displaying scary imagery derived from many sources, for example films such as Frankenstein and The Mummy. Trick-or-Treaters visits the houses in their community in the hope of receiving sweets and other treats from the families they visit.

The lighting of fireworks are also part of Halloween celebrations in some countries.

Halloween's traditional colors are black and orange, and these are used extensively.

Halloween in South Africa

While Halloween may not be as popular in South Africa as in other parts of the world, Halloween in South Africa is slowly gaining momentum, and fancy dress Halloween parties are springing up all over during Halloween time.