Friday, October 06, 2006
Time for Halloween
Halloween is an observance celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets.
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 seldomly used today, it is still a well accepted label. Halloween was also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian interpretation. Halloween is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the púca, a mischievous spirit. In Australia it is sometimes referred to as "mischief night", by locals.
A jack-o'-lantern is a pumpkin whose top and stem have been cut out and interior removed, leaving a hollow shell that is then decoratively carved. Jack-o'-lanterns are associated with the holiday Halloween.