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Halloween Symbols

English for Fun <<< Celebrations around the World <<< Halloween <<< Halloween Symbols

GHOST: A ghost is dead person that visits a living person. Nowadays people do not believe in ghosts, but long ago they did. The Celts believed that ghosts visited the earth on October 31. Now ghosts are an important sign of Halloween.
FIRE: To the Celtics, the bonfire represented the sun and was used to aid the Druid in his fight with dark powers. The term bonfire comes from the words "bone fire," literally meaning the bones of sacrificed animals (and probably human), were piled in a field with timber and set ablaze. This practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600, and an effigy was sometimes burned instead.
JACK-O'-LANTERN: There is old Irish legend about a man named Jack Stingy who was too mean to get into heaven and played too many tricks on the devil to go to hell. When he died, he had to walk the earth, carrying a lantern made out of a turnip with a burning coal. From this legend came the Irish tradition of placing jack-o-lanterns made of turnips and other vegetables in windows or by doors on Halloween. The jack-o'-lanterns are meant to scare away all the spirits that are said to walk the earth on that night.
TRICK OR TREAT: Long ago people believed in ghosts. Clever Irish farmers made good use of the belief of these people who believed in ghosts. These farmers went to rich homes and demanded food. If the rich people did not listen. the poor farmers would play tricks on their rich neighbours. The farmers pushed wagons away and misplaced things belonging to the richer people. The richer people thought it was possibly a ghost playing these tricks and so they gave the farmers food. That is where some people believe "trick or treating" came from.
BOBING APPLES: Bobbing for apples (known in some places as ducking for apples or bobbing for plops in Australia and New Zealand) is a game customarily played on Halloween, but many people have looked upon this game as unsanitary. The game is played by filling a tub or a large basin with water and putting apples in the water. Because apples are less dense than water, they will float at the surface. Players (usually children) then "bob" or "duck" for the apples, by trying to catch one with their teeth. ...
BLACK CAT: Black cats were considered to be reincarnated beings with the ability to divine the future. During the Middle Ages it was believed that witches could turn themselves into black cats. Thus when such a cat was seen, it was considered to be a witch in disguise or a familiar, resulting in many black cats being thrown into fire. The throwing of cats into a bonfire used to be a folk custom in France, Switzerland and Belgium and was done on St. John's Eve in June. The custom was abolished by King Louis XIV in 1648, though it continued in the provinces until as late as 1796.
BAT: Bats eat mosquitoes and cause little harm, but these small nocturnal mammals have a bad reputation because of their infamous cousin, the vampire bat. The only mammal that feeds on blood, this native of Central and South America uses sharp incisor teeth to cut the holes needed to suck blood from its victim. No wonder bats have been linked to death, vampires and occult rituals in the West. But in the East, they often represent good luck.
SPIDER and WEB: To many earth-centered cultures the spider and its web symbolized the weaving of life and the cyclical ways of nature. But in the context of Halloween, it points to dark, scary places, haunted by ghosts and hidden from light and dust mops.
WITCH: Witches were believed to be both men and women. A witch a man or women on Halloween would start a bonfire and all witches would come join and make a feast. Now witches are well known on Halloween.

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