गुरुवार, 31 अक्तूबर 2013

Where Did Halloween Come From?

परम्परा और इतिहास को खंगालते हुए कई मरतबा आपको  ऐसा लग सकता है आदमी का मन एक सा है। पौरवत्य और पाश्चात्य संस्कृति और मानव शास्त्र की जड़े कहीं न कहीं मिलती ज़रूर हैं। 

वृक्षों को उपकारी माना गया है इस लिए हमारे यहाँ वन  देवी की कल्पना की गई।प्राचीन और रोम वासियों ,ब्रितानियों ने भी ऐसी ही  कल्पना की है । हमारे यहाँ यमराज की अवधारणा है तो उल्लेखित परम्परा में आपको मृत्यु का देवता मिलेगा।प्रेत यौनियों और पूर्व जन्म के कर्म फल की अवधारणा आपको यहाँ  भी मिलेगी। उनसे बचने के टोने टोटके भी।ज़रुरत मंद को दाना पानी देकर आशीष और सौभाग्य को प्राप्त होने  की  परम्परा  ,विपरीत स्थिति में कोप भाजन बनने डर भोगने शापित होने की धमकी भी है।पढ़िए मूल आलेख अंग्रेजी में :     

Where Did
Come From?

What is Halloween really all about?

Have you ever asked yourself, "Who in the world ever thought of the idea of walking around in weird costumes, trick or treating, and/or putting a carved-out pumpkin in your window?"

You will agree with me that Halloween is really one of the strangest days of the year, is it not? Perhaps you wonder how the celebration of such a day ever got started. In this pamphlet I would like to answer this question for you!

Where and when did Halloween customs originate?

The many customs we have today in relation to Halloween have their origins in the religious practices of the Romans and the Druids, therefore dating back many centuries. The Romans worshiped various gods and on October 31, a special feast was held in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruit trees. Later, the Druids, an ancient order of Celtic priests in Britain, made this feast an even more extensive celebration by also honoring Samhain, lord of the dead. This was normally done on November 1 and it was therefore decided to conveniently honor both Pomona and Samhain on October 31 and November 1.

These Druids believed that on the night before November 1 (October 31) Samhain called together wicked souls or spirits which had been condemned to live in the bodies of animals during the year which had just transpired. Since they were afraid of these spirits, they chose October 31 as a day to sacrifice to their gods, hoping they would protect them. They really believed that on this day they were surrounded by strange spirits, ghosts, witches, fairies, and elves, who came out to hurt them. In addition to this, they also believed that cats were holy animals, as they considered them to represent people who lived formerly, and as punishment for evil deeds were reincarnated as a cat. All this explains why witches, ghosts, and cats are a part of Halloween today.

The custom of trick-or-treating and the use of "jack-o'-lanterns" comes from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers went from house to house, begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods, to be used at the village Halloween celebration. They would promise good luck to those who gave them good, and made threats to those who refused to give. They simply told the people, "You treat me, or else I will trick you!"

The apparently harmless lightened pumpkin face or "jack-o'-lantern" actually is an old Irish symbol of damned soul. A man named Jack was supposed to be able unable to enter heaven due to his miserliness, and unable to enter hell because he had played practice jokes on the devil. As a result, he was condemned to wander over the earth with his lantern until judgment day (i.e., the end of the world). The Irish were so afraid that they would receive an identical plight, that they began to hollow out pumpkins and place lighted candles inside to scare away evil spirits from their home.

When did the modern Halloween celebration begin?

During the Middle Ages (about 600 years ago), the Roman Catholic Church at that time, decided to make the change-over from pagan religion to Christianity a bit easier, and therefore allowed the new converts to maintain some of their pagan feasts. It was agreed, however, that from now on they would be celebrated as "Christian" feats. So instead of praying to thwir heathen gods, they would now pray to, and remember the deaths of saints. For this reason the church decided to call November 1 the "Day of All Saints," and the mass to be celebrated on that day "Alhallowmass." In consequence of this, the evening prior to this day was named, "All Hallowed Evening" which subsequently was abbreviated as "Halloween." In spite of this effort to make October 31 a "holy evening," all the old customs continued to be practiced, and made this evening anything BUT a holy evening!

Halloween today.

You would have to agree with me that also today Halloween is most definently not a holy evening!! This annual event is far from the harmless, innocent tradition it is promoted to be. Many dread this "holy" evening as they think what could happen to them, their property, and/or their children! Consistent with its historical roots, this evening is charecterized by fear, and frequently arouses dormant fears in many. The fear generated by this event is symbolic of the fear which plagues so many in our moden, morally bankrupt world. It is a gripping fear for an unknown and very threatening future, a fear caused by a gnawing inner emptiness.

An alternative for October 31.

For many in this land, this day stands for the very opposite of fear!! On this day in 1517, a German monk and professor of theology, Dr. Martin Luther, courageously published the simple, straightforward truth of the Bible. God's Word, which he has rediscovered after a long and intense spiritual struggle. God used the truth of his own Word to give Luther the inner peace he had so desperately longed for. The Bible pointed him the way to God Himself, and when he found God through Jesus Christ, he found this peace which passes all understanding! He himself stated that it was as if he entered Paradise itself.

As a result of his courageous act on October 31, 1517, the Bible came into the hands of the common people again, and many, who as he, were deeply troubled by sin and it’s consequences, found peace with God as well!

It was God himself, Who used Martin Luther to bring His message of deliverance into the hands and hearts of sinners, in order to bring them back to Himself, and give then TRUE peace!! It is therefore with deep gratitude to God that we wish commemorate October 31, as it reminds us of God's gracious and mighty deeds nearly five centuries ago.

It is the Word of God, and its precious truth, rediscover by Martin Luther, which still gives true peace to many today. In the Bible ALONE will you find the ONLY answer to the deep yearning of your heart. ONLY when God becomes your God through Jesus Christ, you will find rest at last and you will answer to the true purpose of human existence, namely, to honor, serve, and enjoy our Creator!!

Is the God of heaven and earth YOUR God? If not, seek Him TODAY, while He still may be found!!

God, manifested in Jesus Christ, invited you Himself in His Word. Turn to the gospel of Matthew and read chapter 11:28,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and i will give you rest!"

Those who insist on seeking inner peace without being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, will have to endure eternal misery without God. God does not desire the eternal misery of man and therefore He also extends this invitation in Ezekial 33:11,

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the deaths of the wicked (i.e. Sinner) but that the wicked turn from his way and live! Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die?"


Halloween Image.JPG (6865 bytes)

Is Halloween Candy Tampering a Myth?

Is Halloween Candy Tampering a Myth?

By and large, yes, according to the best available research. Despite a very few well-publicized cases of alleged tampering during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s — nearly all of which were discovered onfurther investigation to be unfounded or unverifiable — no child has ever been seriously injured or killed as a result of ingesting adulterated candy, apples, or other treats collected door-to-door on Halloween.

"Since 1983, I have followed stories about contaminated Halloween treats in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Timesand the Chicago Tribune going back to 1958," said sociologist Joel Best in a 2002 interview, "and every time a case has been reported, the cause of death or injury has turned out to be something other than Halloween candy."

What investigators found
In one of those cases, it turned out that a child who died after allegedly eating Halloween candy laced with heroin had actually found the drug stashed in his uncle's home. In other cases, children who were initially thought to have died as a result of poisoned Halloween candy were found by pathologists to have succumbed to natural causes. And, in one of the very few incidents in which Halloween treats were actually implicated, investigators discovered that the deadly candy had been poisoned by the child's own father, who had recently taken out a life insurance policy on his son.

"Tainted Halloween candy is a contemporary legend, spread by word of mouth, with little to support it," Best concluded. Like most contemporary ("urban") legends, this one has more to reveal about our collective psyche than it does about real-world events. "Contemporary legends are ways we express anxiety," Best explains. This legend shows just how anxious we can be.

How a myth changed Halloween
What sociologists term "the myth of the Halloween sadist" became so firmly entrenched in the American psyche from the 1970s on, in fact, that aspects of the holiday underwent a fundamental change. Most crucially, it became every mother and father's urgent priority to protect young trick-or-treaters from the malicious acts of strangers. Parents were warned by law enforcement officials to thoroughly inspect Halloween treats for tampering before allowing children to consume them. Hospitals began offering the free use of x-ray facilities to detect foreign objects such as razor blades, pins, and needles. And though the moral panic that gave rise to these measures showed signs of subsiding by the 1990s, parental accompaniment and supervision had become a widely adopted and apparently permanent addition to the trick-or-treat ritual.

None of which is to say that parents needn't watch out for their children's safety on Halloween — they should — or that monitoring Halloween treats is never warranted — it is. The point to be gleaned is that these dangers were considerably overblown when they first came to light and created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia which, for a time, tainted everyone's enjoyment of the holiday. More recently we've seen a slight easing of this regime and a welcome change of emphasis in the direction of reasonable concern and due caution.

Dose of reality
To put all this in perspective, Best points out that there's a much more pressing threat to children's safety on Halloween, and that's automobile accidents. Millions of children go trick-or-treating on October 31, and research shows they're four times more likely to be struck by a car on that date than any other day of the year, a statistic worth bearing in mind.


Why Do We Bob for Apples on Halloween?

Why Do We Bob for Apples on Halloween?

SOME SAY the custom of bobbing for apples dates all the way back to pre-Christian Ireland and the pagan festival of Samhain, though there's little documentary evidence to support this. Apple bobbing has also been popularly associated with Pomona, the ancient Roman goddess of fruits, trees, and gardens in whose honor a festival was supposedly held each year on November first. But that, too, stands on shaky historical ground, as some question whether such a festival ever actually existed.

We can say with more certainty that the game of apple bobbing goes back at least a few hundred years, that it originated in the British Isles (Ireland and Scotland in particular), and that it originally had something to do with fortune telling. British author W. H. Davenport Adams, who attributed belief in the prognosticative power of apples to "old Celtic fairy lore," described the game as follows in his 1902 book, Curiosities of Superstition:

[The apples] are thrown into a tub of water, and you endeavour to catch one in your mouth as they bob round and round in provoking fashion. When you have caught one, you peel it carefully, and pass the long strip of peel thrice, sunwise, round your head; after which you throw it over your shoulder, and it falls to the ground in the shape of the initial letter of your true love's name.

Other divination games traditionally played on Halloween included "snap apple" — similar to bobbing for apples except the fruit is hung from the ceiling on strings — and naming nutshells after prospective love interests and placing them near a fire to see which would burn steadily — indicating true love — and which would crack or pop and fly off the hearth — revealing a passing fancy. Accordingly, Halloween used to be known as "Snap-Apple Night" or "Nutcrack Night" in places where these customs were observed.

Bobbing for Apples
Bobbing for apples, c. 1910
Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images

Why Do We Carve Pumpkins on Halloween?

Why Do We Carve Pumpkins on Halloween?

THE NAME "jack-o'-lantern" is of British origin and dates from the 17th century, when it literally meant "man with a lantern" (i.e., a night watchman). It was also a nickname for the natural phenomenon known as ignis fatuus (fool's fire) or "will o' the wisp," the mysterious, flickering lights sometimes seen at night over wetlands and associated in folklore with fairies and ghosts playing pranks on travelers.

Over time "jack-o'-lantern" became the popular term for a homemade object also known as a "turnip lantern," defined by Thomas Darlington in his 1887 volumeThe Folk-Speech of South Cheshire as "a lantern made by scooping out the inside of a turnip, carving the shell into a rude representation of the human face, and placing a lighted candle inside it."

In some parts of Great Britain carrying turnip lanterns was regarded as a form of pranksterism. Darlington writes: "It is a common device of mischievous lads for frightening belated wayfarers on the road." For Catholic children it was customary to carry jack-o'-lanterns door-to-door to represent the souls of the dead while begging for soul cakeson Hallowmas (All Saints Day, Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). They were also carried by parading celebrants on the night of Guy Fawkes Day (Nov. 5).

Stingy Jack
According to a popular legend which was surely created after the fact, the jack-o'-lantern took its name from a roguish Irishman known as Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil into promising he wouldn't end up going to hell for his sins. When Jack died he found out he had been barred from heaven as well, so he journeyed down to the gates of hell to demand his due. Wouldn't you know it, the Devil kept his promise by dooming Jack to wander the earth for all eternity with only an ember of hellfire of to light his way. Thenceforth, the legend says, he was known as Jack O'Lantern.

It wasn't until Irish immigrants brought the custom of carving jack-o'-lanterns to North America that the more commonly available pumpkin came to be used for that purpose, and not until the mid-to-late 19th century that pumpkin carving became a Halloween staple across the United States.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

आँख के अंधे नाम नैन सुख सावन के अंधे को हरा ही हरा दीखे है।

मान्यवर के बी रस्तोगी साहब। जहां तर्क की गुंजाइश नहीं रहती वहाँ कुतर्क काम करता है। सभी कांग्रेसियों की मुद्रा आपको यकसां 

मिलेगी -ये किस खेत की मूली हैं। 

ये सारे सेकुलरिस्ट हैं। कबीर ने अपने वक्त में पाखंडियों और ढोंग करने वालों पर जमकर प्रहार किया था। आज की भारत की 

राजनीति में सबसे बड़ा पाखंड है सेकुलरिजम। नीतिश  कुमार भी इसी का झंडा उठाये हैं शालिनी जी भी।तर्क का इनके लिए कोई 

मतलब नहीं है।  

कबीर की पंक्ति के आशय से इस पाखंड पर कुछ दोहे देखिये -

दिन में माला जपत हैं ,रात हनत हैं गाय ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

दिन में चारा खात  हैं ,रात में कोयला खाएं ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

बाज़ीगर भोपाल का ,रटता सेकुलर जाए ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

ओसामा -ओसामा- जी ,सेकुलर कहता जाए ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न कोय। 

बाज़ीगर भोपाल का, घाट -घाट  पे जाए ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

जल समाधि दे दीनी ,सेकुलर करता हाय ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

कब्र कहीं गर बन जाती ,बाज़ीगर मर जाए ,

सेकुलर खोजन मैं गया ,सेकुलर मिला न हाय। 

एक प्रतिक्रिया ब्लॉग :

बिहार आतंकवादी हमला :फायदा एकमात्र भाजपा को .

बिहार आतंकवादी हमला :फायदा एकमात्र भाजपा को .

.यूँ तो यहाँ बिहार में जो हुआ आतंकवाद के कारण हुआ किन्तु आतंकवादी घटनाओं के पीछे भी एक सच छुपा है और वह यह है कि इन्हें कोई देश में मिलकर ही अंजाम दिलवाता है और ऐसा क्यूँ है कि भाजपा का जबसे नितीश से अलगाव हुआ है तभी से बिहार भाजपा के लिए खतरनाक हो गया है और जब भी भाजपा वहाँ कदम रखती है तभी वहाँ कुछ न कुछ आतंकवादी घटना घट जाती है .
नितीश कुमार वहाँ शासन कर रहे हैं और ये स्वाभाविक है कि वहाँ कोई भी ऐसी घटना होगी तो उसमे उनकी सरकार की लापरवाही ही कही जायेगी और भाजपा और नितीश के सम्बन्ध अभी हाल ही में मोदी के कारण अलगाव पथ पर अग्रसर हुए हैं ऐसे में नितीश को लेकर भाजपा की रैलियों पर हमलों को लेकर टिपण्णी किया जाना एक तरह से सम्भाव्य है किन्तु सही नहीं क्योंकि कोई भी मुख्यमंत्री ये नहीं चाहेगा कि उसके राज्य में शासन व्यवस्था पर ऐसा कलंक लगे जो आगे उसके सत्ता में आने के सभी रास्ते बंद कर दे और कांग्रेस को तो ऐसे में घसीटा जाना एक आदत सी बन गयी है और जैसे कि पंजाबी में एक कहावत है कि -
''वादड़िया सुजा दड़िया जप शरीरा नाल .''
तो ये तो वह आदत है जो कि शरीर के साथ ही जायेगी क्योंकि कांग्रेस आरम्भ से इस देश पर शासन कर रही है और सत्ता का विरोध होता ही है किन्तु एक तथ्य यह भी है कि कांग्रेस ने देश के लिए बहुत कुछ खोया भी है आजतक इसके बड़े बड़े नेता आतंकवाद का शिकार हुए हैं ऐसे तथ्य अन्य दलों के साथ कम ही हैं क्योंकि वे जनता में इतने लोकप्रिय नही हैं कि आतंकवादियों की हिट लिस्ट में उन्हें स्थान मिले और इसका अगर लाभ कांग्रेस को मिला है तो उसने इंदिरा गांधी ,राजीव गांधी जैसे भारत रत्नों को खोया भी है इसलिए आतंकवाद की किसी भी घटना के लिए कांग्रेस को दोषी कहा जाना नितान्त गलत कार्य है .
सिर्फ यही नहीं कि भारत ने आतंकवादी घटना में अपने बड़े नेताओं को खोया है बल्कि श्रीलंका ,पाकिस्तान और विश्व के बहुत से देशों ने अपने बड़े नेताओं को ऐसी घटनाओं का शिकार बनते देखा है ऐसे में ये आश्चर्य की ही बात है कि बार बार आतंकवादी हमले भाजपा के कथित फायर ब्रांड नेताओं पर होते हैं और वे खरोंच तक का शिकार नहीं होते .आखिर आतंकवादी इनसे मात कैसे खा जाते हैं ?ये तथ्य तो इन्हें सभी के साथ साझा करना ही चाहिए क्योंकि आज न केवल ये बल्कि सभी सत्ता के भूखे हैं -
''भ्रष्ट राजनीति हुई ,चौपट हुआ समाज ,
हर वानर को चाहिए किष्किन्धा का राज .''
तो फिर ये ही क्यूँ बचे ये हक़ तो सभी को मिलना चाहिए और देश प्रेमी व् राष्ट्रवादी इस पार्टी को अपना यह कर्त्तव्य पूरी श्रृद्धा से निभाना चाहिए .और अगर ये यह नहीं कर पते हैं तो कानून में जब भी किसी क़त्ल में कातिल न मिल रहा हो तो उसे ढूंढने के लिए उस व्यक्ति पर ही शक किया जाता है जिसे उस क़त्ल से सर्वाधिक फायदा होता है और यहाँ इस हमले का एकमात्र फायदा भाजपा को ही हो रहा है जनता की सहानुभूति बटोरने को लेकर तो शक की ऊँगली किधर जायेगी आप स्वयं आकलन कर सकते हैं .
शालिनी कौशिक
[कौशल ]

प्रस्तुतकर्ता पर  5 टिप्‍पणियां: 

ब्लॉगर Kb Rastogi ने कहा…
कई बार सोंचता हूँ कि लोग कैसे कुछ राजनेताओ के बरगलाने पर उन्ही कि तरह सोंचने लगते हैं। क्या फायदा ऐसी पढाई -लिखाई का कि हम अपने दिमाग से सही ढंग से सोंच नहीं पाते हैं कि इसमें गलत क्या है और सही क्या है। जब कभी भी कहीं भी कोई आतंकी घटना होती है या हिन्दू-मुस्लिम संघर्ष होता है चाहे वह कांग्रेस हो या दूसरी पार्टी हो तुरंत ही उनकी प्रतिक्रिया बीजेपी के खिलाफ आनी शुरू ही जाती है।
समझ में नहीं आता है कि आप जैसे पढ़े - लिखे लोग भी इन्ही लोगो कि हाँ में हाँ मिलाने क्यों लगते हैं।
अगर आप कहती है कि यह सब बीजेपी करवा रही है तो आप वहाँ पर हाथ पर हाथ धरे बैठे क्या कर रहे हैं।
क्या इस बात का इंतजार करते रहते हैं कि वारदात हों और हैम बीजेपी पर दोषारोपण करना शुरू कर दे।
मुख्यमंत्री राज्य का मुखिया होता है अगर वह इनपर काबू नहीं पा सकता तो छोड़ दे गद्दी। क्या बीजेपी के खिलाफ झूठा प्रलाप काने के लिए सत्ता का सुख भोग रहे हैं।
29 अक्तूबर 2013 11:47 pm
आँख के अंधे नाम नैन सुख 

सावन के अंधे को हरा ही हरा दीखे है। 

हेलोवीन की पूर्व संध्या पर विशेष लेख :बाल मन पर हेलोवीन की प्रेत छाया

हेलोवीन की पूर्व संध्या पर विशेष लेख :बाल मन पर हेलोवीन की प्रेत छाया 

ये कोई आज की बात नहीं हैं बरसों से हताशा ,बेचैनी और मानसिक परेशानी का सबब बनता रहा है हेलो -ईवनिंग 


-भ्रंश रूप हेलोवीन। सोलहवीं शती के मध्य में भारोपीय परिवार के लोग केंद्रीय और पश्चिमी योरोप में रहते थे। इस इलाके को पहले आयरलैंड ,स्काटलैंड ,आदि की भाषा भाषी क्षेत्र कहा जाता था। आज ये समूचा क्षेत्र संयुक्त किंगडम के रूप में जाना जाता है। ये लोग अक्टूबर माह के अंत में नव वर्ष उल्लास पूर्वक मनाते थे। ग्रीष्म को अलविदा कह शरद के स्वागत का समय होता था यह जब रबी की फसल काट ली जाती थी खरीफ की बोई जाती थी। जन विश्वास था इस संक्रमण  काल की बेला  में प्रेतात्माएं मनुष्य आत्मओं के बीच में रिल  मिलने का प्रयत्न करतीं हैं। उनसे बचे रहने के लिए लोग डरावने मुखौटे और लिबास पहनने लगे उनके निमित्त मिष्ठान्न कैंडी घर के बाहर रखने लगे। 

इसी खौफ और अनचीन्हें भय का रूपांतरण है हेलोवीन।

अजीब बात ये है माँ बाप अपने ही लाडलों को भूत प्रेत के लिबास में बाहर छोड़ देते हैं। पड़ोस में ये स्वांग भरते हुए 

कैंडी मांगने पहुँच जाते हैं। 

मनोविज्ञानियों के अनुसार कई नौनिहाल इस अनचीन्हें हमले के लिए तैयार नहीं होते हैं उनके चित्त पर इसके दुष्प्रभाव पड़ते हैं जो दूर तक जाते हैं। एक कब्रिस्तान रचा जाता है इनके गिर्द। मौत के अदृश्य जाल से यह इनका पहला परिचय होता है। हालाकि इन्हें किसी की मृत्यु के वक्त शव को सुपर्दे ख़ाक के लिए ले जाते वक्त  दूर रखा जाता है। कई घरों के तो बाहर बनाये गए कब्रिस्तान पर यह लिखा होता है एक बोर्ड पर -आओ अब तुम्हारी बारी है।संगीत भी भूतहा (हेलोवीन म्युज़िक )चलता रहता है। अमरीका में शाम का अपना मौन और वीराना होता है यहाँ जन संकुलता तो है नहीं एक डिविज़न में चंद लोग  ही  होते हैं। सब अपने अपने घरों में बंद। ऊपर से भूतहा माहौल। 

बच्चों के लिए रीअल और वर्चुअल वर्ल्ड में अंतर कर पाना मुश्किल होता है ये घर के बाहर लटके नर कंकालों को ,भूतहा मुखौटों को असली माल लेते हैं। बाल यौन प्रेमी भी इस मौके पे घात लगाये घूमते  रहते हैं।    

It is the adults who should be afraid this Halloween. Not of ghouls and goblins, but of psychologically scarring their children.

In a recent study of 6- and 7-year-olds in the Philadelphia area, Penn State psychologist Cindy Dell Clark found that most parents underestimate just how terrifying the holiday can be for young kids.

Halloween has been scaring the heck out of kids of all ages for centuries.

Two thousand years ago, Celts living in what is now the United Kingdom celebrated their new year at the end of October. During these days of transition from the end of summer harvest to the beginning of winter, spirits were thought to roam among the living.

The modern customs of candy and costume are rooted in medieval England. To avoid being recognized by the visiting spirits, people would dress up in masks whenever they left home. Bowls of food were placed outside to keep the ghosts happy. The practices have morphed into Halloween as it is known today, with parents encouraging their own little ghosts and goblins to haunt the neighborhood.

Unwilling participants? There have been few studies to examine how the holiday affects children. Child psychologists generally caution parents that the fright of some aspects of Halloween can be too much for the very young, and advise adults to keep a close eye on children and remind them of what is real and what is not.

According to Clark, who interviewed parents and children after three Halloweens, younger children may be unwilling participants in the whole ritual.

The key ingredient in the recipe of Halloween fright is, of course, death.

"Intriguingly, Halloween is a holiday when adults assist children in behaviors taboo and out of bounds," Clark writes in the anthropological journal Ethos. "It is striking that on Halloween, death-related themes are intended as entertainment for the very children whom adults routinely protect."

For most kids, at an age when they're often not included in family funerals or witness to grave illnesses, Oct. 31 is often their first introduction to the subjects.

Too tender for tombstones? Halloween also provides an opportunity for adults to confront usually uncomfortable topics like death, Clark told LiveScience.  Kids as young as 6 and 7, however, don't differentiate between real death and the store-bought skeleton figures hanging in the trees and fake tombstones on the grass.
"Children see things on a real plane, as opposed to adults, who are trying to get around real themes like death by treating them as fun," she said.

Conducting her study, Clark observed young children cowering from fear in front of the haunted displays and graveyard scenes common in so many American neighborhoods at Halloween.

Children interpret the frights of Halloween differently depending on their personal situations, such as the recent death of a relative or pet. An especially harrowing Halloween experience might have long-lasting effects. She recalled an interview with a grown woman who described trick-or-treating at age 8: A well-intentioned neighbor invited the girl inside, only to scare her and a friend with a real coffin displayed in the living room.

"She hasn't enjoyed Halloween since," Clark said.

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