Halloween

In addition to Christmas, Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the USA. Despite the fact that this day is not a day off or a public holiday, old Celtic tradition of dressing up with different costumes and scaring passers-by is well established among people of different ages and social statuses.

Halloween traces its history back to old Celtic holiday known as Samhain; on this day ending of working on fields and approach of winter were celebrated. The word Halloween came from Irish All Hallows' Eve that means night before All Saints Day. In the USA people started to celebrate this day in 40th years of 19 century – just then Irish immigrants brought the holiday to the country.

Halloween is a high time for producers and sellers of sweets and carnival costumes; inhabitants of the USA spend billions of dollars on preparations for the holiday. A range of suits for Halloween is enormous – witches and devils, skeletons and tortoises, dinosaurs and even supermen can be seen among little amateurs of sweets. It is notable that producers of suits frequently offer suits even for very young children. For adults choice of fancy suits is more impressive – up to a suit of huge gorillas, gangster or Elvis; correctly applied make-up allows to gain individuality. Surely nobody is scared of the words «Trick or Treat!» (that can be translated as «Wallet or life!») spoken by children dressed in various «frightening» suits. Children knock on neighbours` doors – they just want to get any sweets or a little present.

Various mystical symbols and creatures – witches, black cats, pumpkins-lamps serve as decoration of houses for many Americans. History of famous pumpkin with carved face on it and a candle inside which original name is «jack-o-lantern», goes back to ancient Irish legend about a man named Jack who didn`t go neither to paradise nor to hell. A lamp is needed to illuminate a path for troublesome Jack`s soul in complete darkness. The Irish made this «frightening» lantern of turnip, beet, potatoes and even tomatoes; tremendous popularity of pumpkin in the USA led to making jack-o-lanterns in America namely of this vegetable.

Originally Halloween existed as a religious holiday but in the past century it got features of a secular celebration and today everybody is equal before Halloween. On this day even a president of the country can hear the phrase «Trick or Treat!».