Halloween, its true origins and how to celebrate it in 2020

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Despite its English origins, Halloween – or Dia das Bruxas (Witches Day) – has become increasingly more popular every year in Brazil

 

The term “Halloween” was first used around 1745 in Scotland. The belief was that between sunset on 31 October until dawn on 1 November, the so-called ‘hallow’, or holy, the evening took place. The expression was abbreviated to Hallowe’en, and eventually took on the modern spelling: Halloween.

During the 1800s, the Irish took the tradition with them to America, where it caught people’s imaginations and went on to become one of the USA’s most popular celebrations.

In the United Kingdom, after a slow-burning start during the 20 century, when it didn’t really catch on, Halloween has gained in popularity over the last few years. From the end of September onwards, shoppers start to notice those famous black and orange colours. Fancy dress shops try to outdo one another with their wacky outfits for all ages, and magazines are full of tips on how to do the goriest make-up.

Liverpool plays host to the Lantern Procession, a parade in Sefton Park which brings out Merseyside’s witches, skeletons and creepy characters. The Cotswolds zoo, in England’s midlands, has its own Howl-o-ween, a terrifying train ride into bat territory, with guaranteed screams.

In Brazil, although not traditionally part of the cultural repertoire, the Dia das Bruxas has become ever more popular in recent years, in part thanks to its similarity of theme with the national holiday, on 2 November, of Finados – the Day of the Dead. The date is always a highlight of the year for the many English schools spread around the country, and children love getting dressed up and playing scary games.

Among Brazilian teenagers, popular US TV series have contributed to a particular affection for zombies and many cities now promote an annual Zombie Walk (Marcha dos Zumbis), inspired by the original version which took place in São Paulo in 2006.

With options limited this year amid this global Covid-19 period, choosing where to spend your Halloween/Witches Day may be more difficult than ever so here is a list of some spine-tingling cult Movies/TV shows both in English & Portuguese to keep you in the ghostly spirit of this occasion.

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BBMag Bossa Brazil Magazine

BBMAG Bossa Brazil Magazine is the only London-based bilingual publication specialised in Brazilian lifestyle.

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