History of Halloween

From communion with the dead to pumpkins and pranks, Halloween is a patchwork holiday, stitched together with cultural religions and occult tradition that spans centuries.

Before Halloween

It all began with the Celts; a people whose culture had spread across Europe more than 2,000 years ago. October 31st was the day they celebrated the end of the harvest season in a festival called Soin, that night also marked as Celtic New Year and was considered a time between years; a magical time when the ghost of the dead walked the earth as called as time when the veil between death and life was supposed to be at its thinnest.

At that time the villagers would gathered and lit huge bonfires to drive the dead back to the spirit world and keep them away from the living. But as the Catholic Church’s influence grew in Europe, it frowned on the pagan rituals like sawing.

The name Halloween

In the 7th century the Vatican began to merge it with a Church sanctioned holiday. So November 1st was designed All Saints day to honor martyrs and the deceased faithful. Both of these holidays had to do with the afterlife and about survival after death, it was a calculated move, on the part of the church, to bring more people into the fold.

All Saints day was known as then Hallowmas; hallow meaning holy or saintly, so the translation is roughly mass of the saints. The night before October 31st was All Hallows eve while gradually morphed into “Halloween“.

How the holiday spread

The holiday came to America with the wave of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of the 1840s. The brought several of their holiday customs with them including

  • Bobbing for apples and,
  • Playing tricks on neighbors like, removing gates from the front of the houses
Irish immigrants

Trick-o-treat

The young pranksters wore masks so they wouldn’t be recognised but over the years the traditional of harmless tricks grew into outright vandalism such as in 1930s, pranks during Halloween became really holiday, as there was such a hooliganism and vandalism.

Trick-o-treat was originally a extortion deal, give candies or get your house trashed. Storekeeper and neighbors began giving treats or bribes to stop the tricks and children were encouraged to travel door-to-door for treat as an alternative to trouble making. By the late 30s trick-o-treat became a holiday greeting.

Five Things To See In Albania

Officially known as the Republic of Albania, Albania is a Balkan country located in southeastern Europe. Albania has a very diverse landscape. On one side, the country has the snowy peaks of the Albanian Alps while on the other, the country has the numerous tropical and sunny beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. This variance in the topography has not only lead to a variance in climate, but given rise to a lot of tourists spots.

Compared to its neighbors, Albania is relatively cheaper to visit, while offering similar views and experiences. Albania’s currency is the Albanian Lek and the conversion rate between them is 1 Indian Rupee equaling to 1.39 Albanian Lek. The months from March to June are the best time to visit Albania. Albania has a very rich history owing to it being inhabited by various civilizations over the centuries. This, along with its diverse landscape makes Albania a good tourist location. Whether for its history, natural beauty, or leisure, Albania offers them all.

Here are five places you must check out in Albania!

BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART is a series of museums of renovated former bunkers located in and about Tirana, the capital city of Albania. They were built by the former dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha. It currently serves as a five floor art and history museum and displays the lifestyle in Albania during the 45 years it was under communism.

Mount Dajti

Mount Dajti

Located on the edge of Tirana, Mount Dajti, a designated national park is a paradise for nature lovers. It is filled with forests of different trees like pine and oak. Apart from that, other geographical features seen here are waterfalls, caves, lakes, canyons and an ancient castle too! It is a dream for hikers. For the less adventurous, there is a beautiful cable car line with scenic view of the slopes of Mount Dajti and Tirana city.

Berat

Berat

Berat is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture of the buildings is rich due to various civilizations making the city their home and leaving their mark on it through the architecture. This has given the city the nickname of the ‘City With a Thousand Windows’. The Berat castle is the city’s main attraction.

Gjirokaster

Gjirokaster

Gjirokaster is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The older part of the town has homes with roofs of flat stones. This has given it the nickname of the ‘City of Stone’. The town is overlooked by the Gjirokaster Fortress. The Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival is held here every five years. The latest edition of the festival (the eleventh season), originally scheduled for 2020 was rescheduled to 1st May-8th May, 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

Schkoder

Schkoder
From Rozafa Castle

Schkoder is considered to be the cultural capital of Albania. It has various structures of historical importance like Rozafa Castle, the Shirgj Church, the Mesi Bridge, the Lead Mosque and the nearby ruins of Shurdhah island. The Lake of Schkoder, which happens to be the largest lake in South Europe, is also a tourist attraction for both visitors as well as locals; especially during the summer.