Halloween is the party par excellence for children. Costumes, sweets, decorations, everything is there to make this day memorable in the eyes of the youngest. Children therefore appreciate the traditions put in place on October 31, where pumpkins of all sizes and colors punctuate the route of families in search of the best treats in their neighborhood.
But where do these customs that we associate with Halloween come from? Why pick up so many sweets on October 31? Why carve pumpkins to decorate houses? Why dress in a costume today? Why do some people want to scare this Halloween? We must therefore go back a few thousand years to find the answers to these questions:
“If we tend to think that Halloween is a commercial holiday from the United States, this is not the case at all since it comes from the Anglo-Celtic Islands and is over 2,500 years old. It was organized every October 31, the last day of the Celtic calendar and the eve of All Saints' Day but also the night of the god of death: Samain. Samain's feast, that's what it was called, so is the ancestor of Halloween. "
Source: Yahoo News, October 29, 2019
This video also summarizes why and how we celebrate Halloween in Quebec.
The caption of "Jack O'Lantern", which will be the subject of an activity in this guide, also serves as a reference to explain the presence of carved pumpkins on Halloween. In fact, a "Jack O'Lantern" is literally a pumpkin that is lit from the inside with a candle or a light.
“The Irish thus took it as a custom to carve turnips into lanterns, like the English and the Scots (they sometimes also used beets and potatoes). They once believed that these little flames represented the age of the dead escaping from graves in cemeteries. When they immigrated to the United States in the 19th century, they opted for the pumpkin, which was more widespread at the time and easier to carve. "
Source: Le Soir, October 28, 2019
Test your students' knowledge of the Halloween party around the world using this quiz.
Disciplines and levels targeted
- French (primary or secondary): Tales and legends
Targeted dimensions of digital competence
- Producing content with digital
- Communicate with digital
- Develop and mobilize your information culture
- Collaborate with digital
Educational intention of the guide
At the end of these activities, the student will be able to explain the elements that surround the customs of Halloween and write their own legend.
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Collaborators : Véronique Lavergne, Maxime Laflamme, Laurie Couture.