Hi, Ghouls and Demons, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about Halloween in France. On this day it was believed that the spirits rose from the dead to mingle with the living. The Celts left food at their doors to lure good spirits and wore masks to scare off evil spirits. The celebration of Samhain celebrated at the end of the harvest and honoring the dead. Centuries later the Roman Catholic church established November 1st as All Saints Day ( La Toussaint ) to honor Saints who don’t have their own Holy day. They wanted to detract attention away from celebrating Samhain considered a Pagan celebration.
Some say the Celts in northern France celebrated Halloween, but this can’t be confirmed. Halloween is not a traditional French holiday, yet becomes more and more popular every year due to cultural influence and corporate marketing. The French have been hearing about Halloween from foreigners, tourists and in their English classes for years before Halloween got here. In 1982 the bar/restaurant American Dream in Paris started celebrating Halloween. At first they had to explain to all the customers what it was, but since 1995, the French are more familiar with the celebration. Phillipe Cahen of Optos Opus corporation claimed that he alone brought Halloween to France despite that it already existed here. He created ” Le Samain ” cake in 1997 and registered the word Halloween as a world wide trademark, this increase knowledge of Halloween in France. Companies such as France télécom, McDonalds , Disney and Coca Cola also started using pumpkins and other Halloween images in publicity, making it seem like another imposition of American culture.
Here it is usually celebrated by costumed people in restaurants, bars and clubs, the costumes tend to be traditionally scary, rather than cute costumes like princesses or superheroes seen in the U.S. Trick or treating is becoming more popular, it started out store to store rather than house to house. Halloween is during the mid-school break of All Saint’s Day which slows it down a bit. Stores, restaurants , offices and home decorate windows and pastry and candy shops make up special desserts. The candy companies are starting to market candy in the traditional Halloween format, a big bag of little packages to encourage trick or treating.
Halloween in France is controversial due to the perception of corporate and cultural influences as much as it is not a traditional French holiday, because it is seen as an American celebration. It is too early to tell if Halloween will stay around to be a long-term tradition, maybe the novelty will wear off and it will turn out just to be a fad, and yet the French have been celebrating the ideas at the very heart of Halloween ( respect for the dead ) for centuries 31 October to 2 November have been traditionally been spent visiting cemeteries and honoring saints and attending religious services. happy Halloween from France
Written by Karen Morfu, Copyright 2009
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