Halloween , what is it exactly?
« Halloween » is the contraction of All Hallows Eve, which means The Eve of All Saints Day. This celebration was born in the Anglo-Celtic Islands and it has been celebrated on the night of October, 31st for 2500 years.
It is said that Halloween is a legacy of the Pagan feast of Samhain, which used to commemorate the end of the harvest, the end of the summer and as a consequence the beginning of the fall. On this day, people not only celebrated the god of death called Samhain but also the goddess of fruit and trees, Pomona. Both gave to Halloween its emblematic colours: black and orange.
This celebration has been exported to the American continent in the mid 1840’s and it is also very popular in Ireland, Canada, Australia, France and even in New Zealand.
In most countries that celebrate Halloween, children dress up as scary characters such as ghosts, witches or vampires and they go door to door in their neighbourhood claiming the famous « trick or treat ! » slogan. The houses are usually adorned with cobwebs, skeletons and feature the famous pumpkin turned into a lantern (called Jack’O Lantern).
Traditions in England
This celebration was called for a long time « The Nutcrack Night » or « The Crab Apple Night » in which families were used to gather around a fire to tell horror stories while eating nuts and apples. As a matter of fact, in the Celtic civlization, « the Other World » is an orchard full of apples which explains that this fruit is used in a lot of games organised during Halloween night.
For instance, English children are also used to play the « Apple Bobing » game, which rule is to catch an apple only with their teeth while their hands are tied in their back.
Nowadays, Halloween is mainly associated with children who go on « trick or treat » hunting, always wearing all kinds of costumes. However, watch out! If the neighbourhood does not want to give sweets, these fake monsters can turn themselves into little devils ready to soap windows, write on the walls or even turn down the garbage! So, you’d better think twice before opting for the trick :-).
What to do for Halloween in London ?
You are way too old to knock on your neighbours’ doors but still in the mood of celebrating Halloween? Don’t panic, there are plenty of things you can do on that special night, let’s have a look on some of them:
- Jack the Ripper Tour: guided tour in the districts of Whitechapel, Aldgate and Liverpool Street where some of his victims have been found…
- Phobophobia: crossing dark and tight tunnels under London Bridge
- Ghost Bus Tour tunnels: a double-deck black bus where we come by haunted buildings while listening to the horror stories of the driver…
And for the most classic , less brave of you, there are still theme parties in pubs or nightclubs of the city, but you’d better hurry to have your ticket!
Here are the top 10 Halloween parties in London:
So… Craving for big thrills or an evening dance ?
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