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Germans claim they 'invented' Halloween

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Interesting, since the Phoenicians/Nordic/Celts were the primary founders of the early Germanic tribes, such as the Gauls and Visigoths.

Germans claim they 'invented' Halloween
October 27 2006 at 08:47AM
By Ernest Gill

Hamburg - Forget all those books that say the Irish invented Halloween and that Irish-Americans popularised it in the 20th Century.

Experts in Germany say Halloween was invented by witches in the Black Forest of Germany.

Be that as it may, law-enforcement authorities in Germany are alarmed at a dramatic increase in vandalism and lawless carousing on October 31 by young Germans who are attempting to re-enact scenes from Hollywood movies depicting Trick-'r'-Treat antics.

The claim that Black Forest witches invented Halloween comes from historians in the small towns of Hausach and Gutach near Freiburg, deep in the Black Forest in south-western Germany.

"For centuries, long before the Americans ever came up with Halloween, wise women in the Black Forest were dispelling evil spirits at the autumn harvest by carving gourds and putting candles in them," says Dieter Kauss, head of the Vogtsbauernhof Open Air Museum.

The museum, which recreates a traditional, pre-industrial Black Forest village, complete with thatched-roof cottages and barnyards, is conducting special Halloween weekend workshops and fairs to teach young Germans about the "real" Halloween that is part of their own historical tradition.

"People here didn't call it 'Halloween' of course, they called it 'Ruebengeisterschnitzen' which means 'gourd-ghost-carving'," says Kauss. The weekend fun fairs will teach German children how to carve their own traditional Black Forest gourds and pumpkins.

"Afterwards, we'll have a lighted pumpkin procession to the top of the hill overlooking the model village where the children will be told the real story of Halloween as it was practised by the ancient Celts right here in the Black Forest," he says.

Germans are discovering Halloween as never before, and the nation's retailers hope this imported Irish-American holiday can help spook Germany out of economic doldrums.

Long-forgotten in Europe, the ancient Celtic holiday has become trendy among post-unification Germans. Thanks largely to American movies and TV shows, young Germans are intrigued by images of costumed Trick-'r'-Treaters going door-to-door in search of sweets.

A decade ago, few people in Germany had heard of Jack-o'-Lanterns. Now they grin madly from store windows throughout the country as shoppers buy decorations and costumes for their own Halloween parties.

"Halloween has achieved cult status among young Germans," says Dieter Tschorn, head of the German Toy and Novelty Retailers Association.

Law-enforcement authorities have reported an alarming surge in Halloween-related vandalism in recent years in Germany. For the elderly, wholly unacquainted with Trick-'r'-Treating, the sight of weirdly dressed children congregating outside their doorsteps at dusk is unsettling.

Things got so bad in Hamburg last year that the police have issued a public alert to the hazards of Halloween.

"in 2005 one elderly woman opened her front door and fainted dead away and injured herself and required medical assistance," says a police spokesman in suburban Bad Segeberg. "Our switchboards light up with calls from old folks who are freaked out by roving gangs of children demanding sweets and threatening retribution."

Shaving cream and marmalade increasingly is smeared on doors of homes where residents turn away youthful Trick-'r'-Treaters. Older youths often resort to alcohol-induced vandalism and attacks on passersby.

"Two people, a woman and her daughter, suffered burns when they were pelted with fireworks by teenagers on Halloween," says the suburban Hamburg police spokesperson

"People are especially confused because Halloween is not a traditional German custom," he says.

But he obviously hasn't heard of the Black Forest tradition of Ruebengeisterschnitzen. - Sapa-dpa

I know that there are a lot of americans here on board, and I dont want to offend nobody, but, you have to be well aware that your country is only like 400 years old, and you all came from Europe and other old parts of world, and you took the customs and  old believes with you to the new world. I know that this maybe uppseting you, but it is the truth, you already had all that when you left the old continent.

   What you americans did to Halloween was nothing more than comercialize all that and make the biggest money maker (along with the red Santa that Coca-cola invented)...

I dont know why its so hard for some of you guys to admit the importance of the old world. Its not that you met all teh fairytale creatures when you got to teh promised land, you already had all that from your old home.

And Im sure that many of you dont really know the full lineage of ancestors. I know that I dont. Or am I wrong?

I'd be in agreement with you Nina. And that goes for the passing of mythology, political functions as well as religious customes and beliefs. All formally originating around a point about 10,000 years ago.


M Sidhe:
St. Patricks Day.


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