Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween…Trick or Treat?


Halloween is on the oldest festival/ holiday celebrated across various parts of the world on 31st October. The word Halloween is a short form for All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve.

Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic folk custom known as Samhain that was celebrated at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture signifying “summer end”.  It was also a pagan holiday to honour the dead as they believed that on the 31st Oct, the boundaries between the worlds of living and dead would overlap and the soul of the dead would roam the streets at night.  In the old days, Celts would leave food and gathered around to set huge bonfires by burning crops, which pray for good harvest. They would also dress with animal skins to scare and hide from the spirits.

The Irish and Scottish immigrants later brought this practice to North America in the 19th century and by the late 20th centuries, this holiday has spread to other countries such as Ireland, US, Canada, Puerto Rico , UK, Australia and New Zealand. After the WW2, the commercialized American cultural influence has evolved this festival into the Halloween as we know today.

Halloween has now turned into a great profit opportunity where costumes, decorations, candies or treats, theme parties and horror movies take place. Traditional activities for this celebration includes bonfires, carving jack o lanterns, costume parties, trick or treating, visiting “haunted houses” and watching horror movies.

In Hong Kong, Halloween is celebrated not to the same extent of their western counterparts but in the last decade, local businesses also begun successfully incorporating this theme into their business practice.  Big theme parks such as Disneyland and Ocean Park turn this festival into an annual “must go” event.  They offer one of a kind, creepy and entertaining experience by featuring different collections of staged horror scenes through their well known house of horrors inside their theme park while successfully capturing the heart of many locals and tourists.

The impact of the Halloween festive has also started to spread in China, where many hospitality businesses in big cities are hosting Halloween parties and masquerades. Large retails & shopping malls are also investing heavily on the Halloween gimmick and have put up large Halloween related displays, installations and promotion discounts to drive sales and spending to the consumer.

In HK:

In China:

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