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Halloween Superstitions & Traditions

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Halloween has its roots in pagan beliefs. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween marked the Celtic New Year and was originally called Samhain, which translates to "summer's end" in Gaelic. Some Halloween traditions, such as carving Jack-o'-lanterns, are based on Irish folklore and have been carried on throughout the centuries,                     

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Black Cats The black cat's bad reputation dates back to the Dark Ages, when witch hunts were commonplace. Elderly, solitary women were often accused of witchcraft, and their pet cats were said to be their "familiars," or demonic animals that had been given to them by the devil. Another medieval myth told that Satan turned himself into a cat when socializing with witches. But nowadays, black cats aren't synonymous with bad luck and mischief . In Scotland and England, it's considered good luck for a black cat to cross your path.

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Jack-O'-Lanterns Celtic folklore tells the tale of a drunken farmer named Jack who tricked the devil, but his trickery resulted in him being turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell after he died. Having no choice but to wander around the darkness , Jack made a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal that the devil had tossed him from hell. Jack, the story goes, used the lantern to guide his lost soul; The Celts believed that placing Jack-o'-lanterns outside would help guide lost spirits home when they wander the streets on Halloween

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many superstitions and beliefs are associated with the night due to the magical presence of many dead souls. Ghosts

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B a t s Medieval folklore also described bats as witches' familiars. Seeing a bat on Halloween was considered to be quite an ominous sign. One myth was that if a bat was spotted flying around one's house three times, it meant that someone in that house would soon die. Another myth was that if a bat flew into your house on Halloween, it was a sign that your house was haunted because ghosts had let the bat in.                    

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Spiders They join the ranks of bats and black cats in folklore as being evil companions of witches during medieval times. One superstition held that if a spider falls into a candle-lit lamp and is consumed by the flame, witches are nearby. And if you spot a spider on Halloween, goes another superstition, it means that the spirit of a deceased loved one is watching over you

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Witches The stereotypical image of the witch with a pointy black hat actually stems from a pagan goddess known as "the crone," who was honored during Samhain. The crone was also known as "the old one" and the "Earth mother," who symbolized wisdom, change, and the turning of the seasons. Today, the kind, all-knowing old crone has morphed into the menacing, cackling witch.

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Witch's Broomstick The witch's broomstick is another superstition that has its roots in medieval myths. The elderly, introverted women that were accused of witchcraft were often poor and could not afford horses, so they navigated through the woods on foot with the help of walking sticks, which were sometimes substituted by brooms.

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Another Celtic myth was that dressing up as a ghost would fool the evil spirits into thinking that you were one of them so that they would not try to take your soul. In the U.S., trick-or-treating became a customary Halloween tradition around the late 1950s. Trick-Or-Treating in Costumes

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Candy Apples The fusion of Celtic and Roman traditions is behind Halloween's candy-apple staple. Samhain was around the time of the Roman festival honoring Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees. The goddess is often symbolized by an apple, so the fruit became synonymous with Samhain celebrations of the harvest

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Halloween Colors The traditional Halloween colors of orange and black actually stem from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest. Orange symbolizes the colors of the crops and turning leaves. Black marks the "death" of summer and the changing season. Over time, green, purple and yellow have also been introduced into the color scheme of Halloween decorations.

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The End

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