#229 Halloween: Origins, Meaning and Traditions
Manage episode 345589161 series 1444650
Hi, everybody! I am Georgiana, your English teacher and founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help you speak English fluently.
In today's episode:
- I'll be talking about one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States: Halloween.
- After that, you'll practice your speaking with a new mini-story while enjoying my new Question & Answer story.
Very well. Let's get started!
Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the last day of October. I would say it's very popular because everybody's excited about it, especially children.
The word Halloween comes from an old English expression, "All Hallows' Eve," and it means the day before All Saints' Day.
Children of all ages really love Halloween because they can dress up in funny costumes and knock on their neighborhood doors, shouting, "Trick or Treat!". The neighbors usually give them candies.
The meaning of the phrase "Trick or Treat" is interesting. In this context, "treat" means getting the candies, and "trick" means the consequence of not getting the sweets. It's like an innocent threat children make. Of course, kids get really excited when they knock on strangers' doors in their neighborhood.
Since Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits, the most common symbols are witches flying on broomsticks, ghosts, skeletons, black cats, etc. The black color is one of the traditional Halloween colors.
Of course, pumpkins are also a Halloween symbol. I'm sure you've seen them in movies. People empty pumpkins and put a candle inside to make a lamp.
How do you make a Halloween pumpkin?
- The first step is hollowing out the pumpkin.
- After that, we use a keyhole we saw to cut the hole.
- When using a candle for illumination, you can cut the hole in the pumpkin's top.
- For electric lights, make a hole in the bottom or side so you can hide the cord.
The Halloween pumpkin is called Jack-O'-Lantern. It's common to see jack-o'-lanterns on doorstep decorations before and on Halloween.
The name comes from an Irish legend about a man named Jack. He was so ungenerous that when he died, he couldn't enter Heaven, but he couldn't go to Hell either because he had told jokes about the Devil. As a result, Jack had to walk and walk with a lantern until the Day of Judgment.
Here's what a typical family does at Halloween:
- They decorate their home. Americans spend about 5 billion dollars every year.
- They buy costumes. A costume is not cheap. It can cost $30 or more.
- They buy plenty of candy, and of course, they eat it.
- Kids go "trick or treating." In most towns, it's only allowed from 3 pm until5 pm because it gets dark quickly.
Very well, now you know a bit more about this beautiful holiday. Maybe next time, you'll carve your own Halloween pumpkin and celebrate Halloween just like an American!
Get the transcript here: SpeakEnglishPodcast.com/podcast