The ‘spirit’ of to­geth­er­ness

Gulf News - - Your Turn -

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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