quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2012

It's HALLOWEEN...here, in Brazil!

Photo by Doug R. Funny
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what can't be seen
On any other night.
by Jack Prelutsky

     Halloween has roots in ancient Celtic festival which is known as Samhain. The Samhain is a festival which is celebrated at the end of harvest season in the Gaelic culture. The name Halloween is originated from the Old English 'hallowed' which means holy or sanctified and is now usually contracted to the more familiar word Hallowe'en. It derives from All Hallows' Eve which falls on 31st October each year, and it is the day before All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints' Day.  In 1846, due to the Ireland's Great Famine, many Irish immigrants went to North America to settle down and took the Halloween traditions with them to the New World. Nowadays, many people adorn their yards and homes to participate in this autumn celebration, which comprises wearing costumes, bonfires, visiting ghostly attractions, trick-or-treating, figuring jack-o'-lanterns, looking horror movies, costume parties, and reading frightening stories. It's one of the most popular and celebrated festival in America. In fact, it has become popular in almost all the world, including Brazil! The first time I heard about Halloween was in the early 80's, reading a text in the book of my English course in a specific language school. It was hard to imagine a group of kids going from house to house, dressing up as supernatural creatures and asking for candies.
Photo by Doug R. Funny
Photo by Verginia Veloso
But today, probably because of the globalization and the speed that information reaches via Internet, it's easy to picture this scenario. Little by little the festival has become popular down here too and even my husband had already participated (and won) a Halloween costume contest, wearing a very ugly mask! Of course we can't compare it to the America way of celebrating Halloween, but the way that things are going on here, we will be like them earlier than we can imagine! Some years ago, it was very difficult to find objects or things related to Halloween to buy here. But it has changed and you can find Halloween stuff around here. The first picture above (with the pumpkin and ghost toys) was taken in a supermarket in our city two weeks ago. Children go to school wearing costumes and although it's very uncommon, I already received the visit of some neighbourhood children asking for candies! It's another festival that traditionally is not ours but we have imported it. But it doesn't matter now! Besides the opposition of some people because the association they usually do between the festival and religion, more and more activities have been spreading around several places here, from regular schools to restaurants, coffee shops and dance clubs. As a teacher, I like to explain all that to my students and make it clear the difference of celebrating a festival that has a traditional bond with our history and the one that doesn't, I confess that I have been celebrating Halloween for many years, since I was an English student.
I enjoy making some "spooky" food, like my famous spider-sandwich, which has already been awarded in a Halloween contest food. It's made with the big black olives. I also decorate the house to get into the mood and a jack-o-lantern is usually placed in the garden. But there are three things I really like doing and I consider them the most important ones to enjoy the party: buying chocolate candies, reading books about witches and watching Tim Burton's cartoons: The Nightmare Before Christmas (O Estranho Mundo de Jack) and Corpse Bridge (A Noiva Cadáver) or the movie Practical Magic (Da Magia à Sedução). The cartoons and the movie are so nice that it doesn't matter how many times you have seen them, they are always funny and pleasing!

Post Question: Do you celebrate Halloween? How do you do it? What's your favorite candy? What is your favorite costume? What movie and book would you recommend to be seen and read on Halloween?

Tip: "Yo no creo en brujas, pero que las hay, las hay!" (Eu não acredito em bruxas, mas que elas existe, existem!) It's true...at least it was true in a city of Massachusetts, known as SALEM. Women (and men) were hanged accused of witchcraft. If you go to Salem, visit the Witch Museum. You can start your virtual tour here. 

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