The ‘spirit’ of togetherness
H alloween falls every year on October 31. It is held the day before All Saint’s Day, which is a Christian festival used to celebrate recognised saints. Halloween activities typically involve trick or treating and dressing up in fancy costumes. The word ‘Halloween’ comes from Hallowe’en, meaning “hallowed evening” or holy evening. It is widely thought that Halloween traditions came from Celtic harvest festivals of Samhain, although some people support the view that Halloween began independently as a Christian festival. Samhain was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and means summer’s end. People at this time thought the walls between worlds were thin and spirits could pass through into our realm, and it was feared that they might damage crops for the next season. We celebrate this day by carving pumpkins and having a dinner with lanterns, to scare away evil spirits. I also like to decorate our house by placing candles and pumpkin holders all over the house, to ward off evil spirits. The scariest costume that we encountered was last year when we went for a Halloween party to a hotel in Dubai, and saw a witch who was made to stand at the entrance. While entering the lounge, I banged into her and got the worst scare of my life! This gave me an idea to spook people who came to my home, and I did the same scary trick with the help of my daughter. This year we are having a Halloween party. The gatherings over the dinner table and praying for the new harvest as a family, is the hour I cherish the most during this festival. From Ms Sudha Kathuria Dubai
The US versus the UAE
H alloween became a big deal for me when I left Dubai and moved to the US to study. While I was living in Dubai, I wore the same witch costume for about five years.
My mother bought it for me the first year I went trick or treating when I was nine years old. I went around my neighbourhood for a couple of years asking for candy, and living in a community with a bunch of villas, it was hard to find the houses that were celebrating Halloween.
As I grew older, the trick or treating stopped but Halloween helped bring my grade in high school together as we would have a big Halloween party. When I moved to the US, the idea of making your own costume was taken very seriously.
People planned their costumes and
started making them almost a month before. That custom stuck with me and I took immense pleasure in creating my own costumes, even though they were last minute. My friends would have a Halloween party and almost everyone was dressed up in something creative, particularly inspired by pop culture. From Ms Divya Suri Dubai
Remembering the Saints
F estivals of any country should be respected and we should understand the main importance of the festival. Every year, October 31 is celebrated as Halloween and is observed mainly in the West.
I like to see children dressing up in fancy costumes and as ghosts, bringing sweets to go round as the main concept of the day is to remember Saints, war heroes and those who have left the Earth. In my country, most of the children go round to their neighbours houses wearing different dresses and it looks very nice. Some children will be more anxious to prepare for the event, the previous day. From Mr K. Ragavan India
Having the imagination
A s I excitedly describe my Cleopatra outfit for this year’s Halloween celebrations, whilst replaying Hocus Pocus in the background for the 42nd time, this month, my Saudi colleague told me he won’t be coming to the Halloween party because he has no money for a costume.
My mind went back to our village in Northern Ireland where I have so many happy childhood memories. I explained to him that we would stockpile the following from July: garbage bags, aluminium foil, cereal boxes and more.
We could cover cardboard cut-outs of stars and moons in foil and stick them onto garbage capes to complete a witch costume. I didn’t know we didn’t have money.
We had imagination. I don’t think my excitement has ever wavered, I’m 33 years old! From Ms Kristina Beggs Dubai
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