Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is celebrated all over the world and Azerbaijan is no exception.
Despite the frightening attributes, Halloween is a life-affirming holiday. It allows you to laugh at your fears in fall, the most depressing time of the year. On the night of October 31 to November 1 a lot of masquerades are held throughout the world and both children and adults celebrate this holiday.
In Azerbaijan, Halloween is celebrated from the last days of October and sometimes it lasts until November. Therefore, if during this period you come across a pretty witch in a black hat and a broom in her hand, a charming vampire or a man carrying his own head on a tray on the street, do not panic and pass out, it's Halloween.
One of the Halloween parties has already been held on the Caspian Sea shore at Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel on October 26. It included a concert, magic and comedy shows in the genre of stand-up, dances, entertainment events and various surprises.
Another Halloween event will be held in AF Hotel Aqua Park Complex on October 30 and in Baku Jazz Center on November 1.
Parties accompanied by music, fun contests and breathtaking costumes are not uncommon for Azerbaijani youth. A horrible costume is a required attribute of the Halloween, and the scarier the costume is, the better. On this day you can get a seemingly strange compliment like "You look terrible!" and do not take offense.
The variety of costumes strikes the imagination -- it's a dead bride, a troll, a headless horseman, bloodthirsty zombies, and many other characters.
Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition.
Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, marked in the end of summer, when the dark, cold winter begins - a time of the year that was often associated with human death. The Celts, who lived in the area that is now Ireland, the UK and northern France, 2,000 years ago, celebrated their New Year on November 1.
Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the worlds of the alive and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
Another feature of this holiday is the tradition of "trick-or-treating". The American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.
Nowadays, "trick-or-treating" is a customary practice for children on Halloween in many countries. Children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the question "Trick or treat?". The "trick" is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them.