Halloween is a day when children dress up as witches, wizards, devils, monsters and skeletons and go trick or treating. They knock on every door and say “trick or treat”. Usually they get some sweets, candies, a slice of very popular pumpkin pie or cookies. Then they go away. But if you choose trick and let them go empty-handed, you’d better be careful. That means that they will come back and play a trick on you. They might pretend to be a ghost or a banshee and make you jump out of your skin or die of freight. It’s better to give them something and sleep safe. If you put the jack o’lantern in front of your house they will know that you are expecting them.
Halloween is not an American festival, as many people think. It has its origin in Ireland in the 5th century BC and has changed a lot since then. At the beginning it was a festival celebrating the end of the summer. Then it transformed into a religious festival. The Celts believed that was a day when the ghosts of dead people would come back to earth in order to find themselves new bodies. They perceived it as a chance for the afterlife. To make the spirits feel uncomfortable the Celts dressed up as witches and ghosts and paraded around the villages. According to the legend if they thought someone had already been possessed by a ghost, they would burn him to frighten the other spirits away.
The story of Jack o’lantern is quite interesting. There was a man called Jack, who used to drink a lot and play tricks on people. Honesty wasn’t his main feature. One day he was tempted by the Satan and he tricked him. He somehow made the Satan climb into a tree and then he carved an image of a cross on it. The Satan could not come down in any way. He had to promise that he would never tempt Jack again. The Satan kept his promise. However, after Jack died he had a little problem – because of his sinful life there was no way he could join the choirs of angels in heaven. But the Satan didn’t want him either and so he was left in between. To help him to light his way through the darkness the Satan gave Jack an ember, which he put into a hollowed-out turnip. And so the jack o’lantern was created.
After the Irish came to America in the 19th century, when there was a great famine in Ireland they found that turnips were t not as much popular there. Instead, they found that there were many pumpkins. And so the turnip was replaced by the pumpkin.
Jack o’lantern – dynia wydrążona z wykrojoną buźką i świeczką włożoną do środka
witch – czarownica
wizard – czarodziej
monster – potwór
skeleton – szkieletor
banshee – zjawa
nightmare – koszmar
ghost – duch
trick or treat – cukierek albo psikus
to go trick or treating – chodzić od domu do domu, prosząc o słodycze
costume – kostium, przebranie
to dress up as – przebrać się za….
candle – świeczka
pumpkin – dynia
devil – diabeł
angel – anioł
to play a trick on somebody – spłatać komuś figla
deadman – trup
jump out of one’s skin – wyskoczyć ze skóry (ze strachu)
to die of fright – umrzeć ze strachu
turnip - rzepa
ember – węgielek