Spooky Halloween Traditions: Halloween Colours

OCT. 31 419-illust_(oct30)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Halloween Colours

 

 

Why do we decorate Halloween in black and orange?

Pumpkin orange and midnight black specifically are the dominant colours in Halloween. When we think about Halloween, these colours automatically pop out of our mind.

Most people agreed that the Halloween tradition came from the Celtics. The colour orange came from the celebration of autumn and harvest. Orange symbolizes the colours of crops and turning leaves. Many people use pumpkins to make scary jack-o’-lanterns with lit candles or mini electric lights. On the other hand, black marks the “death” of summer and changing the season. After all, Halloween is a festival of the dead. Also, Halloween is celebrated after sunset.

Nowadays, when you walk to any stores that sell Halloween items, you will find lots of black and orange items. Although most people are not sure why we use these two colours during Halloween, these colours are being used worldwide.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Dominant – exercising influence or control
  2. Pop out – appear suddenly
  3. Symbolize – represent or identify by using symbols or images

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you agree that Black and Orange are the colours of Halloween? If not, why not?
  2. Are they the same in your country? What colours do you use during Halloween?
  3. Do you see lots of Halloween decoration in your country during this season? If so, what kind of decorations? Are they all in black and orange?

    Why do we decorate Halloween in black and orange? Pumpkin orange and midnight black specifically are the dominant […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Sweets and Candies

OCT. 30 409-illust_(oct29)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Candy Apples and Bobbing Apples

 

 

What are the popular snacks during Halloween?

In ancient times, people believed that the apple is a sacred fruit. It could be used to predict the future. The bobbing apple is one of the traditional games used for fortune-telling on Halloween night. People believed that the first person to remove an apple from the water-filled bucket without using their hands would be the first one to marry.

If the person caught the apple on the first try, it meant that the person will experience true love, however if the person got the apple after many tries, that person will be fickle in romance. Another Halloween myth was that if the girl put her caught apple under her pillow before she sleeps on Halloween night, she will dream about her future husband.

On the other hand, candy apples are also popular as a Halloween treat. It became popular during the early days of trick-or-treating in North America. Historians believed that candy apples came from the mixed tradition of the Celtics and the Romans. Romans worship Pamona, their goddess of fruit trees. The goddess is often symbolized by an apple.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Sacred – worthy of respect or dedication
  2. Fortune-telling – the art or gift of predicting people’s future by using supernatural powers
  3. Fickle – liable to sudden unpredictable change

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you also have candy apples and bobbing apples in your country?
  2. What are the most popular candies during Halloween in your country?
  3. Does your country have any superstitious belief about the food that are being served on a Halloween night?

    What are the popular snacks during Halloween? In ancient times, people believed that the apple is a sacred […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Trick-Or-Treat

OCT. 28 408-illust_(oct28)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Trick-Or-Treat

 

 

Do you know what Trick-or-Treat means?
Free candy is awesome. Everybody knows that. That’s why every year, during Halloween, children in costumes travel from one house to another in order to ask for treats such as candies and in other cultures, money by saying “Trick or treat!” Trick is a threat (usually not that dangerous) to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if they don’t give treats.

The origin of trick-or-treating is still being debated even until now. Many historians stated that it started in the Middle Ages where people would leave out food to make souls and spirits less angry. Furthermore, people would sometimes dress up as a ghost or spirit to fool the real spirits into thinking that they are one of them so the real spirits wouldn’t try to take away their soul.

In the United States, trick or treating became popular around the late 1940s. Homeowners wishing to participate would decorate their lawns and gardens with popular Halloween designs like skeletons, spiders and jack-o-lanterns and would even ask children to perform some songs or dance before giving them candies. Trick-or-treating was introduced to America by Irish immigrants.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Mischief – reckless or malicious behaviour that causes discomfort or annoyance in others
  2. Debate – argue with one another
  3. Dress up – put on special clothes; dress in a costume
  4. Lawn – a field of cultivated and mowed grass

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Is trick-or-treating popular in your country? What is the origin of trick-or-treating in your country?
  2. Do children do it in your country? How would you describe it?
  3. Do you think it’s good to have that kind of activity for children every year? Why or why not?

    Do you know what Trick-or-Treat means? Free candy is awesome. Everybody knows that. That’s why every year, during […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Witches

OCT. 27 407-illust_(oct27Spooky Halloween Traditions- Witches

 

 

Are witches real? If so, are they all really bad?

Probably the most popular character during the Halloween season is the witch. The origin of the witches came from the Celtic mythology. Thousands of years ago, they believed that a witch is called as “the crone”. The crone is an old woman who is being honoured during the Samhain holiday of the Celts on the first day of November. She symbolized wisdom, change, and the turning of the seasons.

However, in the Middle Ages, Witches have been accused of doing evil magic and causing harm to other people. Witches during this period were described as old women with pointy hat stirring cauldron and riding a broomstick. Which is why, there were countless of witch hunting in the past. The most popular of them is the Salem Witches’ Trials in Massachusetts, United States of America.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Celtic – people who were a member of European people who once occupied Britain and Spain and Gaul before the Roman times
  2. Honoured – having a widely known reputation; respected
  3. Accuse – blame for, make a claim of wrongdoing or misbehavior against
  4. Stirring – moving an instrument (like spoon or fork) through some liquid (like drinks or soup)
  5. Cauldron – a very large pot that is used for boiling

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Are witches also popular in your country? How would your country describe them?
  2. Does your country consider them good or bad? Why?
  3. Do you think there are real witches? Why or why not?

    Are witches real? If so, are they all really bad? Probably the most popular character during the Halloween […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Spiders

OCT. 26 406-illust_(oct26)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Spiders

 

 

Are you afraid of spiders?

Arachnophobia means the fear of spiders and other animals that resemble spiders like scorpions. Many people are afraid of them. That’s why they are also popular during Halloween. In fact, spiders are also associated with witches during the medieval times.

However, there are some people who are afraid of spiders because of the superstitions surrounding them not because of what they look like. Throughout Africa, spiders are believed to be tricksters or great gods. Japanese people believe that Spider Woman can catch careless travellers. The Greeks and the Norse believed that spiders are weaver of people’s fate and they connect the past and the future.

Other superstitions held that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp and died, the witches are nearby and if you spot a spider on Halloween, it means that a spirit of a deceased loved one is watching over you.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Resemble – appear like; be similar or bear a likeness to
  2. Trickster – someone (others believed that they are spirits) who plays practical jokes on others;
  3. Norse – a person who is a native or inhabitant of Norway.
  4. Deceased – dead

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Do you believe that spiders cause misfortune to anyone who sees them? Why or why not?
  2. Are spiders considered as good or bad omens in your country? How?
  3. Do you know why your country consider them as good/bad?

    Are you afraid of spiders? Arachnophobia means the fear of spiders and other animals that resemble spiders like […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Bats

OCT. 24 404-illust_(oct24)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Bats

 

 

Are bats good or bad? Should we be afraid of them or should we welcome them?

Medieval myth also described bats as witches’ pets and seeing a bat on Halloween was considered to be an ominous sign.

Most European cultures often associate bats with witchcraft, black magic and darkness. Additionally, in western culture, the bat is often a symbol of night that they associated it with both villains such as Dracula and heroes such as Batman. Many myths surround the bats. One myth told that if a bat was spotted flying around one’s house three times, it meant that someone in that house would die soon. Another myth was that if a bat flew into your house on Halloween, it was a sign that your house was haunted because a ghost had let the bad in.

However, not all legends surrounding bats are negative. Chinese lore claims that the bat is a symbol of longevity and happiness. Bats are also considered lucky in Poland, Macedonia (of Greece), and Arabian countries.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Ominous – indicating evil intent or suggesting tragic developments
  2. Black magic – the kind of magic that causes harm to other people and produce unnatural and harmful effects in the world
  3. Longevity – length of something; seniority
  4. Lore – traditional knowledge; knowledge gained though traditions

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Do you believe that bats cause misfortune to anyone who sees them? Why or why not?
  2. Are bats considered as good or bad omens in your country? How?
  3. Do you know why your country considers them as good/bad?

    Are bats good or bad? Should we be afraid of them or should we welcome them? Medieval myth […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Black Cats

OCT. 25 404-illust_(oct24)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Black Cats

 

 

Are black cats good or bad? Should we be afraid of them or should we welcome them?

Black cats are often used as symbols of bad luck. In fact, they are being used as Halloween decorations. In fact, in Western history, black cats are often looked upon as a symbol of evil omens. Especially during the Dark Ages when witch hunts were common. They believe that the black cat is a demonic animal given by the devil to the people who practice witchcraft. Another medieval myth told that Satan turned himself into a black cat when he socializes with witches.

Even in this modern era, many are still afraid of black cats. The gambling world is said to be afraid of them. Gamblers believed that if, while travelling to a casino, a black cat crosses a gamblers’ road or path, that person should not to the casino because these cats will cause them misfortune.

However, Scottish and Irish believe that a strange black cat brings prosperity. Even in Japan, black cats are also considered as good luck. Furthermore, it is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Omens – signs of something about to happen
  2. Dark Ages – is historically used to talk about the Middle Ages which emphasize the cultural and economic worsening that occurred in Western Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire; the chaotic period in the 10th and 11th centuries
  3. Witch hunts – a search for a person who is believed to be a witch; they often cause huge panic among people during the Dark Ages.
  4. Witchcraft – the art of magic, use of magical spells and getting help from evil spirits
  5. Medieval – related to the Middle Ages
  6. Myth – a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of people
  7. Gambling – the act of playing with a high risk in the hope of winning
  8. Gambler – a person who bets money on the outcome of games or sporting events
  9. Misfortune – bad luck
  10. Prosperity – successfulness; having good fortune
  11. Suitor – a man who courts a woman; a man who is interested to a woman

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Do you believe that black cats cause misfortune to anyone who sees them? Why or why not?
  2. Are black cats considered as good or bad omens in your country? How?
  3. Do you know why your country considers them as good/bad?

    Are black cats good or bad? Should we be afraid of them or should we welcome them? Black […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Spooky Halloween Traditions: Jack-o’-Lanterns

OCT. 23 403-illust_(oct23)Spooky Halloween Traditions- Jack-o’-Lanterns

 

 

Do you know the origin of the popular Halloween traditions?

Every October, carved pumpkins are displayed from porches and doorsteps in the United States, England and other countries. These pumpkins have scary faces designed on them and are lit by candles to show that the Halloween season has started.

This practice of decoration pumpkins is called “jack-o’-lanterns.” The name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. The story said that Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Since he is called Stingy Jack, he didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he forced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could use it to buy drinks. When the Devil turned into a coin, Jack decided to keep the money in his pocket next to a silver cross which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil but Jack made the Devil promise that the Devil will not bother Jack and the Devil will not claim his soul when he died.

When Jack died, God was so angry he didn’t allow Jack to go to heaven and because the Devil made a promise that he will not claim Jack’s soul, he decided to let Jack roam the Earth with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and he has been travelling far and wide.

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own version of Jack’s lantern by carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes and placing them into windows or near the doors to scare away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. Irish immigrants decided to bring the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and they realized that pumpkins are better than turnips and potatoes in making Jack-o’-lanterns.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Spooky – inspiring a feeling of fear, strange and frightening
  2. Carve – engrave or cut by chipping away at a surface; this is how you make sculptures
  3. Porch – a structure attached to the outside part of a building often forming a covered entrance
  4. Folktale – tales and stories which spread through word of mouth; they often don’t have scientific basis
  5. Stingy – someone who is unwilling to spend money
  6. Claim – demand as being one’s property
  7. Coal – the material we use to make fire;
  8. Immigrant – a person who moves to a foreign country to live there permanently

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Is Jack-o’-lantern popular in your country? Do you also use pumpkins? If not, what fruit or vegetable do you use to make jack-o-‘lantern?
  2. What Halloween traditions are popular in your country?
  3. Do you like to spend time and money in decorating your house for a special occasion? Why or why not?

    Do you know the origin of the popular Halloween traditions? Every October, carved pumpkins are displayed from porches […]


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Level:

Intermediate

All Hallows’ Eve

OCT.  22 -illust_(oct22)All Hallows’ Eve

 

 

Why do we celebrate Halloween? Where does it come from?

Halloween is a yearly celebration on the 31st of October. It is also called as All Hallows’ Eve. Most people think that Halloween is all about costumes and candy, a season popularized by clothing and food companies to sell more scary costumes and candies. This holiday is actually relatively new to America, having become popular in the early 1900s.

However, Halloween has been celebrated for almost 2500 years. It is thought to have been influenced by customs and beliefs from the Celtic speaking-nations like Brittany (Northwest France), Cornwall (Southwest England), Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales. Halloween is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain which means “summer’s end.” It marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. The Celtics believed that this season is when the fairies or spirits are the most active. They also believed that it is this season when the souls of the dead return home on one night or day of the year. Throughout the Celtic speaking nations, they celebrate it by preparing a large banquet for both the living and the dead people.

Today’s Halloween has been influenced by Christianity. Halloween is being followed by the two important Christian holidays; November 1 (All Saints’) and November 2 (All Hallows’ Eve). These three days are the time when Christians honour the saints and pray for their departed loved ones who haven’t reached heaven.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Fairies – small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers
  2. Banquet – a ceremonial dinner party for many people
  3. Honour – show respect towards to someone or something
  4. Saints – a person who has died and has been declared as a saint by Christian religion; these people are models of excellence and having no equal
  5. Departed – dead

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Is October 31 an important day in your country? Why or why not?
  2. If you have Halloween in your country, does your country have a different history of it?
  3. Does your country celebrate Halloween? If so, how do you celebrate it in your country?

    Why do we celebrate Halloween? Where does it come from? Halloween is a yearly celebration on the 31st […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The Best and Worst Street Food of South-East Asia – Part 2

OCT. 21 401-illust_(oct21)The Best and Worst Street Food of South-East Asia

 

 

Have you tried eating street foods from South-East Asian countries?

Here is the list of WORST street food of South-East Asia that was picked by food bloggers:

Cambodia offers fried spiders as one of their exotic street food. In the town of Skuon in Phnom Penh markets, vendors offer deep fry spiders to locals and tourists. Food bloggers said that this food is only for the brave hearts.

Balut is not for the queasy of stomach, according to food bloggers. This fertilized egg duck which is hard boiled is a popular street food in the Philippines.

In Thailand, there is a fruit that releases a foul smell. That is Durian. Although most locals in Thai said that the fruit is actually sweet. This fruit is also available in other south-east Asian countries like Philippines.

Additionally, Thailand also offers locusts, silkworms, and grasshoppers are their exotic street food. It’s widely available in Khao San Road. Tourists and food bloggers who were brave enough to try it said that they are crunchy and sometimes they tend to stick in the teeth.

 

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Exotic – strikingly unusual or strange
  2. Brave hearts – having or displaying courage; not cowardly or timid
  3. Queasy – feeling nausea; feeling about to vomit
  4. Foul – highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Have you ever been to these countries mentioned in the article? What kind of street foods have you tried which you think are the worst?
  2. What is your opinion about these worst Southeast Asian street foods?
  3. Does your country have street foods as well? What is the worst one in your opinion?

    Have you tried eating street foods from South-East Asian countries? Here is the list of WORST street food […]


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Level:

Intermediate