Halloween: experts told, why the West is afraid of the dead, and Russia — no

© RIA Novosti / Ramil to Setdiscoverable in fotoracconti people in makeup during the Halloween celebration in Moscow. Archival photoHalloween: experts told, why the West is afraid of the dead, and Russia — no© RIA Novosti / Ramil to Setdiscoverable the image Bank

Halloween is a relatively young holiday, part of it goes back to the beliefs of the ancient Celts, who believed that with the onset of November in the world of the living can break through supernatural forces; however, if these days the West is defended by the ghosts and spirits in Russia were guessing and singing songs about your wedding plans, preferring not to be afraid of their dead ancestors.

Halloween is celebrated every year on 31 October, the eve of all saints Day, traditionally considered the only day in the year when the spirits of the dead can return to earth. The most widely celebrated in the United States and Canada, recently became popular in Europe and Russia. Among the most well-known traditions of the holiday — costume parties in which participants dress up in evil. The RIA Novosti correspondent talked to the experts and found out that there is Halloween, a Celtic pagan holiday Samhain and all saints Day, and why the West is afraid of their dead ancestors, and Russia — no.

Halloween — where did it come from?

As told RIA Novosti senior lecturer of the Department of ancient languages, historical faculty, Moscow state University, candidate of historical Sciences Nina Gulova, the idea that the roots of Halloween go to the deep pre-Christian, supposedly «Celtic» antiquity, is not entirely true.

«Although some connection between Halloween, Samhain and all saints Day there is a modern complex paraphernalia of Halloween has developed into the early nineteenth century. The ancient Celts did not carve pumpkins (it’s a custom American settlers, the pumpkin is an American plant), did not do «traditional Irish» mashed potatoes-Colcannon (potatoes, of course, also came from America), and even baked the cupcakes in silver coins (in ancient Ireland had no money, they started to mint only the Vikings),» said Ivlov.

She explained that the English word «Halloween» («Halloween») represent holiday customs, observed by 31 October, the eve of all saints Day. These folk traditions mostly originated new time (XVI-XVIII centuries) among English-speaking peoples. The all saints ‘ Day is not always celebrated November 1 – this date was approved by a Pope only in the IX century, and were not immediately adopted in all European countries. But the Celtic «Samhain» has been known since ancient times and the middle Ages with all saints ‘ Day was not identified. Samhain was the end of the bright half of the year and the transition to winter – to this day finished harvest, scored the extra cattle, cows return home from summer pastures. The first of November and in the days before and after it was lit bonfires and lamps, the people feasted and were going to «aanah» — tribal meetings.

According to Jelloway, for the medieval Irish to the onset of the dark half of the year was due to various fears and concerns: it was thought that at that time violated the boundary between the human world and the spirit world, and the inhabitants of the hills – seeds – could enter our world, often with ill intentions.

The West is scared of Russia — not very

The idea that at the onset of the dark time of the year the world can penetrate the dark forces or spirits of the dead existed in many Nations, says Nina Ivleva. «For example, in ancient Rome, 8 November was considered an unlucky day then opened the sacred well through which can come the gods of the underworld, they the Romans sacrificed the fruits of the harvest,» she says.

According to Jelloway, for the Slavs, on the contrary, the beginning of November was much less significant, simply because at this time in Eastern Europe – including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus – the harvest had long been over and it became cold. Memories of the dead in Orthodox Russia were associated with the parent Dmitrov Saturday – Saturday before the feast of St. Demetrius (November 8). On this day, cook pancakes, pudding, pies, somewhere killed a pig, in Ireland, on St. Martin’s day.

«In Russia the beginning of winter is traditionally considered a holiday of the Intercession (1/14 October) and since that time had to fear the evil spirits: early October in the forest raged goblins in November began the world of snakes and wolves. The first of November, on the day of Kuzma and Damian (Kuzminki) cajoled the old house, and the girls were going to raves, singing songs about your wedding plans, wondered, roasted chickens and sometimes invited the guys,» she explained.

As told RIA Novosti news Agency specializing in problems of contemporary culture Deputy head of the Department of journalism of the Institute of state service and administration at Ranepa Andrey Novikov-Lanskoi, Russian and Slavic culture in General is not peculiar to the fear of the guests from the other world.

«Traditionally, Russian people of the dead are not afraid, he not make this cult horror. The dead ancestors to help, not to interfere — at least in Slavic mythology. But in Western culture it turns into something frightening, terrible, and that the very structure of the American holiday. We love our dead ancestors, and they are afraid of them. In Orthodox culture for deceased relatives to pray, we have no fear of some ghosts, ghosts,» says Novikov-Lanskoy.

Halloween is a holiday for students

Head of the research laboratory of theoretical folkloristics School of actual humanitarian research of the Institute of social Sciences (ION) of Ranepa Sergey Nekludov finds that Halloween can quite settle down on Russian soil.

«The holidays of other people quite a take root in other Nations, if they comply with some request, which for some reason at the moment does not meet the native culture. And since it is popular — but he sure is popular, there are many people who happily celebrate — so, apparently, this need is,» — said the expert.

Novikov-Lanskoy told RIA Novosti that most Halloween celebrates urban youth.

«The reason is simple. Youth-like all foreign, striking, provocative, and they can be understood — indeed, is a celebration of rowdy, outrageous, portray themselves from evil spirits, of the dead. There is nothing you can do — even if you take a targeted approach to eliminate this kind of holidays and their attributes, celebrate his still continue, but perhaps he would be just a phenomenon of the subculture», — the expert believes.