Halloween Faq: Halloween Traditions Around The World
by Hanson Landgren

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*Was Halloween originally a pagan or a Christian holiday?
Like the celebration of Christmas day, originally Halloween was a pagan festival rather than a Christian holiday. It was only around 10th century that the Roman Catholic Church established this holy day. This was initiated for purifying the spirits of the dead.

* What is the origin of trick-or-treating?
Trick-or-treating, a major Halloween tradition, is related to the "soul cake day" of Christian people, with a belief that the treat pacifies a mischievous spirit. Formerly, children who were trick-or-treating would vandalize houses that did not give them treats. They roamed around the neighborhood soliciting candy or other kinds of treats. This was became popular up to the 20th century. It was in the year 1970 that the trick-or-treating tradition started to wane because of several rumors that some households were handing out harmful or poisonous treats to children. Today many parents accompany their children while trick-or-treating or organize private Halloween parties.

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* Why is Halloween celebrated on October 31st?
Halloween is celebrated on October 31st because the Celtic people believed that it is the end of "season of the sun" and the start of "season of darkness and cold" due to winter. They believe that it is the time when evil spirits are most likely to roam the earth.

* Is Halloween celebrated on the same day around the world?
No. Halloween in some parts of the world may not even occur on October 31st. A number of countries celebrate Halloween on November 1 or 2. Other prefers to celebrate it at some other time, mostly during the fall or summer season.

* What countries celebrate Halloween?
Halloween is one of the oldest traditions and is celebrated around the globe. While many countries commemorate Halloween it is in North America and Canada where Halloween is most popular. Other countries that join in the celebration are Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Latin America, Spain, and Sweden.

* How did Halloween get started in the U.S.?
The first-ever recorded Halloween celebration in the United States occurred in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921. That was the start of trick-or-treat, Halloween costume parties, and a series of activities depicting the essence of the celebration.

* Why do we carve pumpkins for Halloween?
Carving of pumpkins is descended from earliest Irish tradition. Originally a turnip was used instead of a pumpkin. According to some stories, it was believed to ward off evil spirits.

When the Irish people began to immigrate to America, they realized that carved pumpkins were more realistic than turnips, as well as easier to carve.
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About the Author: Hanson Landgren is editor of Halloween Lab, the online guide to Halloween. He also writes Halloween FAQ's for PrettyGreatAnswers.com.

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