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Halloween Around The World

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGEAs one of the world's oldest holidays, Halloween is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe, but it is in North America and Canada that it maintains its highest level of popularity. Every year, 65% of Americans decorate their homes and offices for Halloween...a percentage exceeded only by Christmas. Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold and is second only to Christmas in terms of total sales.



Austria
In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.

Belgium
The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross once's path and also ulucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.



Canada
Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O'Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.



China
In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bondires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the "pretas" in order that they might ascend to heaven. "Pretas" are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of "pretas" among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the "pretas," which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.

Czechoslovakia
In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member's spririt.



England
At one time, English children made "punkies" out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day. However, in recent years, the American "trick or treating" custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pasttime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the older generations) have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.

France
Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an "American" holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996.



Germany
In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.



Hong Kong
The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as "Yue Lan" (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.

Ireland
In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods. After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including "snap-apple," in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the "treasure." The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face-down on a table with sweets or coins beneath them. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called "barnbrack." This is a type of fruitcake which can be baked at home or store-bought. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming. Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as "knock-a-dolly," where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.

Japan
The Japanese celebrate the "Obon Festival" (also known as "Matsuri" or "Urabon") which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the "Obon Festival," a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. "Obon" is one of the wo main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The "Obon Festival" takes place during July or August.



Korea
In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as "Chusok." It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The "Chusok" festival takes place in the month of August.

Mexico, Latin America And Spain
Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as "El Dia de los Muertos." It is a joyous and happy holiday...a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls' Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffine which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico's oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.

Sweden
In Sweden, Halloween is known as "Alla Helgons Dag" and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, "Alla Helgons Dag" has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint's Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.


The Story Of Halloween

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGEHalloween is one of the oldest holidays with origins going back thousands of years. The holiday we know as Halloween has had many influences from many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman's Pomona Day, to the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days.

Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their favorite. It was "he" who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow.

The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the "season of the sun" and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold."

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.

When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced "sow-en"). The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.

During the first century the Romans invaded Britain. They brought with them many of their festivals and customs. One of these was the festival know as Pomona Day, named for their goddess of fruits and gardens. It was also celebrated around the 1st of November. After hundreds of years of Roman rule the customs of the Celtic's Samhain festival and the Roman Pomona Day mixed becoming 1 major fall holiday.

The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church would make November 1st a church holiday to honor all the saints. This day was called All Saint's Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd a holy day. It was called All Souls Day and was to honor the dead. It was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils.

But the spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early customs. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. Over the years the customs from all these holidays mixed. October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow's Eve, Hallowe'en, and then - Halloween.

The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences, Pomona Day's apples, nuts, and harvest, the Festival of Samhain's black cats, magic, evil spirits and death, and the ghosts, skeletons and skulls from All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.




why you should always think before speaking

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGEWe're not afraid of challenges. It's like we always say: if you want to go out in the rain, be prepared to get burned. -Anonymous Brazillian Soccer Player

How to store your baby walker: First, remove baby. -Anonymous Manufacturer

Traffic is very heavy at the moment, so if you are thinking of leaving now, you'd better set off a few minutes earlier. -Anonymous Traffic Report

We are unable to announce the weather. We depend on weather reports from the airport, which is closed, due to weather. Whether we will be able to give you a weather report tomorrow will depend on the weather. -Arab News report

Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly. -Batman Costume warning label

Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. -Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager

It was pretty good. Even the music was nice. -Yogi Berra, after attending an opera

The private enterprise system indicates that some people have higher incomes than others. -Gerry Brown, California governor

All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting you endorse it. -George Bush, US President

It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another. -George Bush, US President

I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions --but I don't always agree with them. -George Bush, US President

Not only is he ambidextrous, but he can throw with either hand.
Duffy Daugherty , football coach and sports analyst`


Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.
Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

Life is very important to Americans. -Bob Dole, U.S. Senator from Kansas

If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record. -Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

I don't think anyone should write his autobiography until after he's dead. -Samuel Goldwyn

A bachelor's life is no life for a single man.
Samuel Goldwyn

Why only twelve?
Samuel Goldwyn, while filming The Last Supper, (attributed)

You will find it a distinct help if you know and look as if you know what you are doing.
IRS Training Manual for tax auditors

Please provide the date of your death. from an
IRS letter

And now, will y'all stand and be recognized?
Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House, to a group of people in wheelchairs on Disability Day

All you have to do is go down to the bottom of your swimming pool and hold your breath.
David Miller, US DOE spokesperson, on protecting yourself from nuclear radiation

Was it you or your brother who was killed in the war?
Reverand William Spooner, of Oxford, England (for whom the 'Spoonerism' is named)

I've read about foreign policy and studied -- I know the number of continents.
George Wallace, 1968 presidential campaign

We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.
Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor

























What Is An American?

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGE*We yell for the Government to balance the budget, then take the last dime we have to make the down payment on a car.
*We whip the enemy in battle, then give them the shirt off our backs.
*We yell for speed laws that will stop fast driving, then won't buy a car if it can't go over 100 miles an hour.
* Americans get scared to death if we vote a billion dollars for education, then are unconcerned when we find out we are spending three billion dollars a year for cigarettes.
*We know the line-up of every baseball team in the American and National Leagues but don't know half the words in the "Star Spangled Banner".
* We'll spend half a day looking for vitamin pills to make us live longer, then drive 90 miles an hour on slick pavement to make up for lost time.
* We tie up our dog while letting our sixteen year old son run wild.
* We will work hard on a farm so we can move into town where we can make more money so we can move back to the farm.
* In the office we talk about baseball, shopping or fishing, but when we are out at the game, the mall or on the lake, we talk about business.
*We are the only people in the world who will pay $6.00 to park our car while eating a $.39 sandwich.
*We're the country that has more food to eat than any other country in the world and more diets to keep us from eating it.
*We run from morning to night trying to keep our earning power up with our yearning power.
*We're supposed to be the most civilized Christian nation on earth, but we still can't deliver payrolls without an armored car.
*We have more experts on marriage than any other country in the world and still have more divorces.


The Power of a Woman

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGEThere were 11 people hanging onto a rope attached to a helicopter, ten men and one woman. They all decided that one person should let go because if someone didn't, the rope would break and everyone would die.

No one could decide who should go, so finally the woman, fighting back her tears, gave a very touching speech stating that she would give up her life to save the others because women were used to giving up things for their husbands, families and children, and giving in to men in general.

When she finished speaking, all the men started clapping........

Never underestimate the power of a Woman!!!


I Wish......

Topic: NEWS & KNOWLEDGE*I wish you a shaft of sunlight on the gloomiest of days.
*I wish you a long, lazy morning with breakfast in bed.
*I wish you the sound of your children's laughter.
*I wish that no matter how much it rains, your socks never get wet.
*I wish you a kiss in the moonlight from someone you love.
*I wish you always get a seat by the window.
*I wish you patience, becomes sometimes the world will insist on walking when you want to run.
*I wish you the abandon to dance badly at weddings.
*I wish you a good memory, except for grievances.
*I wish you rainbows and fireworks.
*I wish that no matter how venerable an age you attain, at least once a year you splah in a puddle.
*I wish that you never fear failure, for doing so makes it hard to succeed.
*I wish that your never the last to laugh.
*I wish you a mountain to climb and the will to do it.
*I wish you passion.
*I wish you the vision that lets you see the good in others and the faults in yourself.
*I wish that you know where the fuse box is whenever the lights go out.
*I wish you heroes.
*I wish that when you're blessed with old age, you have memories to feast on and a mind that's still hungry.
*I wish that no matter how tall you walk, you never look down on those around you.
*I wish you the strength to face your fears, to recognize them as part of yourself, and still move on.
*I wish that you find your own path through the forest.
*I wish you courage.
*I wish that once a year, you ditch work early and go see a movie in the afternoon.
*I wish you laugh lines, not wrinkles.
*I wish you the senses to laugh at the world and all its absurdities, and the wisdom to laugh at yourself before others do.
*I wish that you see that beauty lies in the shadows as well as in the sun.
*I wish that you can feel my hand in yours whenever you need it.
*I wish you a home as welcoming as a mother's embrace.
*I wish that you always have one wish left.



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