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Halloween, witches and the false facts


Halloween, that has roots in age-old European traditions, is celebrated each year on October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns.

Today, especially in the countries where Halloween is not common, people think that Halloween is related with witchcraft. This false fact is the result of usage of witch costumes as the Halloween’s iconic character.

On the other hand “witches” were thought to be pagans doing the Devil’s work. However, they were simply natural healers or so-called “wise women” whose choice of profession was misunderstood. They were blamed for storms, diseases and accidents. In Medieval Europe between 100.000 and 200.000 people (including men and children) were arrested on suspicion of witchcraft and about half of them were executed.

Even, witch figure used in Halloween is just a cliché that is not match with real “witches” in Medieval Europe. Green skin of this figure comes from the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz movie. Also, broom was used to symbolize that women belong to house in 15th century and a woman ride on broom meant that femininity is going crazy. Nowadays, it is possible to see that women who break the rules of patriarchy accused of witchcraft because of the similar reasons.

Source: http://www.history.com


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