Canada on the Doorstep: 1939

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The customs of Halloween likely derive more from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain pronounced SOW-in , with sow as in a female pig , which some argue was appropriated by early Christians to convert the Celtic people. It was observed annually in Britain and Ireland on 1 November, marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

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Over the centuries, it also came to be recognized as the Celtic New Year, though research suggests this was not originally the case. Led in their religious practice by Druids the Celtic clergy , the Celts believed that the beginning of this day — the evening of 31 October — marked the division between the light and dark halves of the year. It was believed to be a spiritually liminal time, when the boundary between the living and the dead was at its thinnest and all manner of ghosts, fairies and demons, including the souls of the dead, were able to visit the living.

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In Celtic Halloween customs, people wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves and ward off harmful spirits. The bones of slaughtered animals were cast into communal fires to aid the dead on their journey. Meals were prepared for the living and the dead. Ritual offerings were left out to appease malevolent spirits that would otherwise bring bad luck to the home or the community. The practice of begging for offerings from a household, originally known as souling or mumming , dates back to the Middle Ages and is considered the precursor of the modern practice of trick-or-treating.

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As Halloween celebrations grew more secular, this practice was adopted by children. Instead of saying prayers, they would sing songs, recite poems or perform other entertaining tricks in exchange for nuts , fruit or coins. The practice of dressing children in disguise guising for souling became common during the 19th century. Halloween postcards and greeting cards were also very popular between about and There is some debate about the origins of this practice; some believe that carved turnips were used as lanterns on Samhain, while others claim that this was an adaptation of the old Christian custom of commemorating souls in purgatory by lighting candles in turnips.


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According to Irish folklore, Stingy Jack was a drunkard and a cheat who was refused entry into both heaven because he was a miser and hell because he played tricks on the devil. Stingy Jack was condemned to roam the dimension between the living and the dead until Judgement Day with only an ember from hell to light his way.

Canada on the Doorstep: 1939

He kept the ember in a carved-out turnip as a lantern and thus was known as Jack of the lantern , or Jack-o'-Lantern. These vegetables were placed in the window or on the doorstep to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. Irish and Scottish immigrants to Canada and the United States brought the custom with them and adapted it to the larger, naturally hollow, native North American pumpkin , which has since become equally popular in Britain. Pumpkin-carving contests occur all over Canada on or around Halloween, particularly in Nova Scotia, where whole communities compete e.

The first recorded instance in North America of children dressing in disguise on Halloween was in Vancouver , BC, in The first recorded use of the term trick or treat in North America was in the Lethbridge Herald on 4 November in reference to festivities in nearby Blackie, Alberta:.

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No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc. Trick or treating waned during the Second World War , due primarily to sugar rations, but was revived with renewed vigour with the rise of the suburbs in the s.

The campaign continues to operate door-to-door on Halloween in the US. The popularity of Halloween has grown tremendously since the s, when it morphed from a holiday observed by children to one celebrated by kids and adults alike. The commercial revenue generated by Halloween more than doubled between and , making the holiday the second-most commercially successful in the world behind Christmas. According to a survey, 68 per cent of Canadians celebrate Halloween and 33 per cent of adults attend a Halloween party.

The holiday has also become a flashpoint for controversy, with costumes drawing wide public criticism for sexualizing young girls and depicting racial and ethnic stereotypes. David J. Louis passenger who survived Holocaust. Politics professor Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, who teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University and tracks political apologies, told Global News that this apology is largely symbolic.

But she explained that not all official apologies are equal — some include compensation to those affected, while others further political agendas.

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But she noted that some apologies, like ones offered to Indigenous Peoples for past injustices, are often not received well. Canadian Jewish leaders say that means the prime minister must acknowledge modern-day problems the community faces. Trudeau mentioned that idea in a letter to Jewish leaders following the shooting.

The latest figures on hate crimes from Statistics Canada show the Jewish population was the most frequent target of religiously motivated hate crimes in Anti-Semitic incidents increased 24 per cent that year.

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