THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

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        On October 31st, the eve of All Saints Day or just Hallow­een is celebrated.

       The tradition of Halloween began in the fifth century B.C. by the Irish Celts, who organized their year according to the agricultural calendar and marked the transition from one year to the next on October 31.

       The Celts, ancient inhabitants of Great Britain, celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival that marked the end of the «season of the sun» and the beginning of «the season of darkness and cold».

       On the eve before their new year, October 31, it was be­lieved that Samhain, who was the Lord of the Death and Prince of Darkness, called together all the dead people. The Celts be­lieved the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on this night.

      On October 31st, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest. They considered oak trees to be sacred. The Druids would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops, animals and possibly even human beings. They told fortunes about the co­ming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.

       When the morning arrived, the Druids would give an em­ber from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires at home. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

       The story tells us that during the transition, spirits return to earth, looking for living bodies to possess for the following year. The Celts dress up in ghoulish costumes and parade around to frighten them away.

       In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholit Church made No­vember 1st a church holiday to honour all the saints. This day is called All Saint’s Day. It used to be also known as Hallow­mas. Gradually, over the years, October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow’s Eve, and then Halloween as we know it today.

       It was thought that even strangers could help a soul’s pas­sage to heaven by saying prayers.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

1.    When do we celebrate Halloween?

2.    When did the tradition of All Saints Day begin?

3.    Who were the priests of Celts?

4.     What did Druids do during this holiday?

5.     Why did the Celts dress up in ghoulish costumes?

6.     When did November 1st become a church holiday?

 

 

 

VOCABULARY:

All Saints Day — День всех святых

Irish Celts — ирладские кельты

transition — переход, окончание

ancient inhabitants — древние жители

Lord of the Death — Повелитель смерти

boundary — граница

to blur — размывать, стирать

the Druids — друиды

priest — священник, священнослужитель, жрец

hilltop — вершина холма

oak forest — дубрава

to consider — рассматривать, считать, полагать

to offer sacrifices of — приносить в жертву

human beings — люди, человеческие существа

to tell (past told, p.p. told) fortunes about — предсказывать

ember — тлеющие угли

evil spirits — злые духи

to dress up in ghoulish costumes — наряжаться в омерзи­тельные костюмы

to frighten away — пугать, отпугивать

to honour — праздновать в честь

prayers — молитвы, мольба

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