Halloween – 31 October

600 people turned up at Castello Dal Pozzo to celebrate the night of Halloween in style. Ambience, great costumes and excellent music until 04.00  ensured the success of this exclusive event.  (See Photo Gallery below).The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day, now known as All Saints Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556. Pre-Christian Celts had an autumn festival, Samhain (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ], from the Old Irish ˈˈsamainˈˈ), “End of Summer,” a pastoral and agricultural “fire festival” or feast, when the dead revisited the mortal world and large communal bonfires would hence be lit to ward off evil spirits.

Costumes and masks being worn at Halloween goes back to the Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them. Samhnag — Candle lanterns carved from turnips, were part of the traditional festival. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows, also used to ward off harmful spirits. Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred so that spirits of the dead and inhabitants from the underworld were able to walk free on the earth. It was believed necessary to dress as a spirit or otherworldly creature when venturing outdoors to blend in, and this is where dressing in such a manner for Halloween comes from. This gradually evolved into trick-or-treating, because children would knock on their neighbours’ doors in order to gather fruit, nuts, and sweets for the Halloween festival. Salt was once sprinkled in the hair of the children to protect against evil spirits.

Associated  with the holiday of Halloween, are the  jack-o’-lantern (formerly also known as a Scary Pumpkin), typically a carved pumpkin. These were  named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern. In a jack-o’-lantern, the top is cut off, and the inside flesh then scooped out; an image, usually a monstrous face, is carved onto the outside surface, and the lid replaced. At night, a light is placed inside to illuminate the effect.  The tradition of carving a lantern started in Ireland. However it was traditionally carved from a swede or a turnip. They were carved on All Hallows’ Eve and left on the door step to ward off evil spirits. An offering or, as we now know it, a “treat” would also be commonly left, as it was feared if you didn’t the demons and spirits would fiddle with property or live stock (play a “trick”). Once the tradition moved to the USA it was adapted to the carving of a pumpkin as these were more readily available and easier to carve.

Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction.

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