What Is Halloween 2017

Halloween 2017
Halloween 2017
Halloween 2017

It is the spookiest time of the year. The 31st October has come and it is the time for Halloween. This year Halloween 2017 falls on Tuesday.

What is Halloween?

Halloween (also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve) comes from the word Hallowe’en, meaning ‘hallowed evening’ or holy evening.

It is a spooky celebration observed in many countries every year on the last day of October, which is also the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day.

Early history behind Halloween 2017

Many people believe that the origin of this festival dates back to the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning ‘Summer’s End’.

This festival marked the end of harvest season and the beginning of the cold winter. The Celtics would bid farewell to the warm days as the length of the day began to get shortened.

The Celts believed that during the festival of Samhain, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead becomes the thinnest.

As a result they feared that spirits could pass through the boundary and cause damage to their crops for the next season.

So to appease any spirits, they would set up separate places for them at the dinner table. And to scare off the evil spirits, bonfires were lit.

Later history behind Halloween 2017

In the later years, the Irish carved out demon’s face in turnips and lit candles in them to frighten away the evil spirits.

But in 1840, due to less production of turnips and abundance of pumpkins, the Irish started carving faces on the pumpkins.

In the 1st century A.D., the Romans occupied the Celtic lands and incorporated many Celtic traditions, including the tradition of celebrating Samhain.

After eight hundred years, the Roman Catholic Church modified the event of Samhain, and announced 1st November as All Saints’ Day, in honor of all Catholic saints.

In England, All Saints’ Day was known as All Hallows’ Day.

Since then, the evening before i.e. 31st October is known as All Hallows’ Eve, which is later modified into the American word ‘Halloween’.

The reason behind dressing up in Halloween 2017

The Celts used to dress up in white and paint their faces black during the festival of Samhain. They believed that by doing this evil spirits would be tricked into thinking that the people in weird dresses are ghosts and would leave them alone.

Later in the 11th century, this tradition came to be called as ‘souling’. Children would dress up like angels, demons or saints and go from door-to-door asking for soul cakes.

The soul cakes were in fact sweets with a cross marked on the top of them. The children would ask for them in exchange for prayers for close ones.

It was then believed that if a soul cake was eaten, it would free a soul from purgatory.

Later in the 19th century, the children stopped giving prayers. Instead, they started to offer songs, poetry and jokes in exchange for fruits or money.

Halloween trick-or-treat

The phrase trick-or-treat was first used in 1927 in America. The tradition of offering songs, poetry and jokes were over. And in place of that pranks were done in exchange for sweets.

With the rise in the gothic themes in literature during the Victorian ages, costumes became more scary and adventurous.

People started to dress up like bats, ghosts or even like an Egyptian pharaoh. With the rise of pop culture, costumes became more sexualized in the 1970s.

Many people also fall prey to pranks during Halloween. From scaring people in the sleep to chasing them dressed as ghosts− the list would go on.

Theory behind carving pumpkins

According to folktales, many people believe in the story of Stingy Jack, who had once fooled the devil into buying him a drink.

After his death, Jack was neither allowed entrance to heaven nor hell. Instead, he was sent to earth with a burning coal to roam upon earth as a ghost.

Jack put the coal into a turnip and turned it into a lantern and hence was named Jack O’ Lantern.

After the lesser production of turnips and its higher rates in the 1940s, carving of turnips was stopped. Pumpkins were started to be carved as it was cheap and there was plenty pf production.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your Halloween costume and go spooking people around. Happy Halloween!

International Women’s Day

International women's day
international women’s day

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, is a global day celebrating the success of women in various fields including social, economic, cultural and political.

From the time when humans started getting civilized, men have taken the responsibilities to work outside the domain of the house. This has made the women ‘angel of the house’ and has forced them to take up the responsibilities of the inner domain.

This in turn has led to a gap between the two genders. International Women’s Day is also the day which calls for us to take action to bridge this gap and to accelerate gender parity.

Since the early 1900s International Women’s Day is being practised all over the world. The early 1900s was the time of great turbulence as the world was experiencing great turbulence and a rapid increase in population.

At that time many women started working in the industries of New York to support their family. But there was an increase in the oppression and violation of rights of women.

It is quite difficult to say precisely when International Women’s Day was first celebrated.

Reports have traced back to 1908, when a group of 15000 women marched through the streets of New York for the demand of the rights to vote, better payment for work and to shorten the working hours.

A year later International Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909 which was organised by the socialist party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. At that time it was called National Woman’s Day.

In 1910 the leader of the women’s office for the social democratic party in Germany, Clara Zetkin, came up with the idea that there should be a day which would be observed as International Women’s Day.

She gave the suggestion that every year one day would be celebrated for the women to push for their demands.

Later a conference of 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her proposal and International Women’s Day was formed.

Officially in 1911, some European countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland celebrated International Women’s Day. More than one million men and women came out on the streets in support of this day.

They made rallies and campaigns for the rights of women to work, to cast vote, to have access to educational system, to have equality and to end discrimination.

International Women’s Day was celebrated on the last Sunday of February until 1914. In 1914, it was first celebrated on March 8, most probably because it was a Sunday. Since then this day is celebrated as International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day was officially recognised by the United Nations in the International Women’s Year of 1975.

Two years later in 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited its member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Since the year of 1996, the United Nations have announced adoption of annual themes regarding the observation of International Women’s Day.

The first theme was “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”. While the latest theme of 2017 was “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.

2011 saw the centenary year of International Women’s Day, the first event being held exactly 100 years ago in 1911.

The theme of 2011 was “Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women”.

This day is celebrated as an official holiday in many countries such as Afghanistan, Cuba, Nepal, Russia, Vietnam, etc.

It has become a custom for men to gift the women of their lives− such as friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, etc− with small gifts and flowers.

In countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, it is observed as equivalent to Mother’s Day, where children give their mothers and grandmothers small gifts.

Colours that signify International Women’s Day

Internationally, purple is the colour which symbolises women.

According to history, the combination of purple, green and white is used to symbolise the equality of women.

This concept originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908.

The colour purple stands for justice and dignity. The colour green is the symbol for hope. While the colour white represents purity. But now white is no longer used as the concept of ‘purity’ is a controversial topic.

A new colour yellow is being introduced which symbolises a ‘new dawn’. It is also commonly used to signify a second wave of feminism.

Therefore, while the combination of purple with green stands for traditional feminism, the combination of purple with yellow represents progressive contemporary feminism.