четверг, 10 апреля 2008 г.

Free screensavers, wallpapers

3D Spooky Halloween
3D Spooky Halloween Get a spooky screen with flying skulls, witches, Jack-O-Lanterns, and more!

Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion A full moon and lightning storm illuminate this spooky mansion.

Haunted House
Haunted House With animated ghosts, goblins,
and creepy crawlers.

Carve-O-Lantern Carve your own pumpkin and display it
with this interactive screensaver.

воскресенье, 16 марта 2008 г.

Halloween Today

Since 250,000 people celebrate the holiday by putting up a Halloween desktop screensaver, it’s no surprise that big money is also spent on Halloween. An estimated $3.12 billion was spent on Halloween in 2006 alone.

An average person spends about $43.57 on Halloween. 50 dollars is a lot to spend on candy and decorations for one day, so it’s a nice relief to know that you can download a free Halloween desktop theme from screensavers.com, home to one of the largest theme collections in the world.

Halloween is just around the corner, so decorate your house for October 31st, and decorate your PC with a Halloween desktop wallpaper.

суббота, 15 марта 2008 г.

Halloween screensavers

Halloween screensavers were developed in 1990, a year after the development of regular screensavers, to prevent phosphor burn in of the screen from consistent images on a computer screen. The first screensaver was the “flying toaster”, created by Dr. Jack Eastman, and in the following year, the very first holiday screensaver was made – the “flying pumpkin”. It’s amazing to think about how far Halloween screensavers have progressed since then, and now you can check out a compilation of any animated Halloween screensaver you may need at screensavers.com. More than 250,000 people personalize their office with a Halloween screensaver wallpaper program nationwide around the holiday of Halloween.

Some of you may be wondering about the holiday on which your animated Halloween screensaver is based.

The Celts celebrated New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the season of the sun and the beginning of the season of darkness and cold.

On October 31st after the crops were harvested and stored for the long winter, the cooking fires in homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the sacred oak forest. The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.

When morning arrived, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) and lasted for three days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival became the first Halloween.

The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church would make November 1st a church holiday to honor all the saints. This day was called All Saint’s Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd a holy day. It was called All Souls Day and was to honor the dead. It was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils.

But the spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early customs. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. Over the years the customs from all these holidays mixed. October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en, and then – Halloween.

With so much mystery and arcane rituals surrounding Halloween, it’s no wonder that we offer a great set of scary screensaver options for you to download right away!

среда, 19 сентября 2007 г.

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воскресенье, 9 сентября 2007 г.

Halloween holiday celebration

Halloween, or Hallowe'en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns. The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", which is now also known as All Saints' Day. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the Western world, most commonly in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom and occasionally in parts of Australia and New Zealand.

The modern holiday of Halloween may have its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced /ˈsaun/ from the Old Irish samain). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes erroneously regarded as the "Celtic New Year". Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, where the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them. When the Romans occupied Celtic territory, several Roman traditions were also incorporated into the festivals. Feralia, a day celebrated in late October by the Romans for the passing of the dead as well as a festival which celebrated the Roman Goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit were incorporated into the celebrations. The symbol of Pomona was an apple, which is a proposed origin for the tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

History of name!

The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar.

вторник, 4 сентября 2007 г.

Halloween celebration in Scotland

Scotland, having a shared Gaelic culture and language with Ireland, has celebrated the festival of Samhain robustly for many centuries. The autumn festival is pre-christian Celtic in origin, and is known in Scottish Gaelic as Oidhche Shamhna the “End of Summer”. During the fire festival, souls of the dead wander the earth and are free to return to the mortal world until dawn. Traditionally bonfires and lanterns (samhnag) in Scottish Gaelic, would be lit to ward off the phantoms and evil spirits that emerge at midnight. The term Samhainn or Samhuinn is used for the harvest feast, and an t-Samhain is used for the entire month of November.

As in Ireland the exact customes involved with celebrating Halloween from ancient times to pre-industrialised Scotland are lost and lack primary documentation, to distinguish the ancient customs from the modern counterpart. The Witchcraft Act of 1735 contained a clause preventing the consumption of pork and pastry comestibles on Halloween although in modern times such treats are a popular treat for children; the act was repealed in the 1950s. Scotland's National Bard Robert Burns portrayed the varied custom for children to dress up in costumes in his poem "Hallowe'en" (1785).

Halloween is seen when the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred. Many of the traditional customs derive from ancient divination practices and ways of trying to predict the future. Most of the customs by the 18th century were methods for young people to search for their future husbands or wives. As Samhainn was originally a harvest festival, many of these strange practices are connected with food or the harvest—and fertility. One old custom associated with the Western Isles was to put two large nuts in the hearth of a peat fire. These were supposed to represent yourself and your intended spouse. If the nuts curled together when they warmed up then this was deemed to be a good omen, but if they jumped apart then it was time to look for another sweetheart. Islanders from Lewis traditionally poured ale into sea in benefaction of a marine God called “Seonaidh” or “Shoney”on Celtic Samhain or Halloween, so that he will send seaweed to the shore, to fertilise the fields for the coming year. Seonadh in Scottish Gaelic means, sorcery, augury or Druidism and it is possible the custom of Shonaidh is the direct link to an ancient form of Celtic god worship that has been Christianised. As "Seonaidh", which is Gaelic "Johnny" may also be a reference to one of St John, and an invocation to him.

Fire rituals were also important, great bonfires were lit in a village, or by individual families and when the fire dies down, its ashes are used to form a circle and one stone for each member of the household is kept inside this circle near the circumference. If any stone is displaced or seems broken by next morning, then the person to whom that stone belongs is believed to die within a year. A similar rite in north Wales includes a great bonfire called Coel Coeth’ being built for each family on Halloween. Later, the members of the household throw a white stone in the ashes marked in their name. Next morning, all the stones are searched for and if any stone is missing, then the person who threw that stone, is believed to die before next Halloween. In particular the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, held festivities on Carn na Marbh ‘Mound of the Dead' was the focal point of a Samhain festival. A great fire or “Samhnag” was lit on top of it each year. The whole community took hands when it was blazing and danced round the mound both sunwise and anti-sunwise. As the fire began to wane, some of the younger boys took burning embers from the flames and ran throughout the field with them, finally throwing them into the air and dancing over them as they lay glowing on the ground. When the last embers were showing, the boys would have a leaping competition across the remains of the fire, reminiscent of the Betane festival. When it was finished, the young people went home and ducked for apples and practised divination. There was no Scottish tradition of 'guising' here, the bonfire being the absolute centre of attention until it was consumed. The Samhain celebrations here apparently came to an end relitively late in 1924.

In Scotland, folklore including that of Halloween, revolves around the ancient Celtic belief in faeries Sidhe” or “Sith” in modern Gaelic. Children who ventured out carried a traditional lantern (samhnag) with a devil face carved into it, to frighten away the evil spirits. Such Halloween lanterns were made from a turnip or “Neep” in “Lowland Scots”, with a candle lit from a hollow inside. However in modern times such lanterns use pumpkins, as in North American traditions. Possibly, because it is easier to carve a face in a pumpkin than in a turnip, and because of this, the practice of hollowing out pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns may have its roots in this practice.

Houses were also protected with the same candle lanterns. If the spirits got past the protection of the lanterns the Scottish custom was to offer the spirits parcels of food to leave and spare the house another year. Children too, were also given the added protection by disguising them as such creatures, in-order to blend in and if they approached the door of a house, they were also given offerings of food—as Halloween is a harvest festival—to ward off the potential spirits that may lurk hidden among them. This is where the origin of the practice of Scottish “guising”—a word which comes from 'disguising', or travelling around in costume and is now included in the trick or treat tradition of North America.

In modern-day Scotland this old tradition survives, chiefly by children going door to door "guising", in this manner i.e., dressed in a disguise (often as a witch or ghost, monster or another supernatural being) and offering entertainment of various sorts. If the entertainment is enjoyed, the children are rewarded with gifts of sweets, fruits or money. There is no Scottish 'trick or treat' tradition as in North America; on the contrary, 'trick or treat' has its origins in the Scottish guising customs.

Popular games played on the holiday include "dooking" for apples (i.e., retrieving an apple from a bucket of water using only one's mouth). In places, the game has been replaced (because of fears of contracting saliva-borne illnesses in the water) by standing over the bowl holding a fork in one's mouth, and releasing it in an attempt to skewer an apple using only gravity. Another popular game is attempting to eat, while blindfolded, a treacle or jam coated scone on a piece of string hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes the blindfold is left out, because it is already difficult to eat the scone. In all versions, however, the participants cannot use their hands.

In 2007, Halloween festival organisers in Perthshire said they wanted to move away from US-style celebrations, in favour of more culturally accurate traditions. Plans include abandoning the use of pumpkins, and reinstating traditional activities such as a turnip lantern competition and "dooking (ducking) for apples".

понедельник, 3 сентября 2007 г.

Halloween in England and United States

Halloween in England!

All Saints' Day (All Hallows Day) became fixed on November 1 in 835, and All Souls' Day on November 2, circa 998. On All Souls' Eve, families stayed up late, and little "soul cakes" were eaten by everyone. At the stroke of midnight there was solemn silence among households, which had candles burning in every room to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes, and a glass of wine on the table to refresh them. The tradition continued in areas of northern England as late as the 1930s, with children going from door-to-door "souling" (i.e., singing songs) for cakes or money. The English Reformation in the 16th century de-emphasised holidays like All Hallows Day or All Souls Day and their associated eve. With the rise of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations in 17th century England, most remaining Halloween practices, especially the building of bonfires, were moved to November 5.

In parts of northern England, there is a traditional festival called Mischief Night which falls on the November 4. During the celebration, children play a range of "tricks" (ranging from minor to more serious) on adults. One of the more serious "tricks" might include the unhinging of garden gates (which were often thrown into ponds, or moved far away). In recent years, such acts have occasionally escalated to extreme vandalism, sometimes involving street fires.

Halloween celebrations in England were popularised in the late twentieth century under the pressure of American cultural influence, including a stream of films and television programmes aimed at children and adolescents, and the discovery by retail experts of a marketing opportunity to fill the empty space before Christmas. Between 2001 and 2006, consumer spending in the UK for Halloween rose tenfold from £12 m to £120 m, according to Bryan Roberts from industry analysts Planet Retail, making Halloween the third most profitable holiday for supermarkets. This led to the introduction of practices such as pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treat (see below). Nowadays, adults too may dress up to attend costume parties, pub parties and club parties on Halloween night.

Bobbing for apples is a well-established Bonfire Night custom now also associated with Halloween. In the game, attempts are made with one's mouth only to catch an apple placed in a water-filled barrel. Once an apple is caught, it is sometimes peeled and tossed over the shoulder in the hope that the strips would fall into the shape of a letter, which would be the first initial of the participant's true love. According to another superstition, the longer the peel, the longer the peeler's life would be; some say that the first participant to get an apple would be the first to marry.

Other practices common to Bonfire Night and Halloween include fireworks, telling ghost stories, and playing children's games such as hide-and-seek. Apple tarts may be baked with a coin hidden inside, and nuts of all types are traditional Halloween fare. Bolder children may in some areas play a game called "thunder and lightning", which involves loudly knocking on a neighbour's door, then running away (like lightning). However, traditions are being lost under the relentless pressure of the American media, and some of today's children will arrive at a door and intone "trick-or-treat" in order to receive money and sweets.

There has been increasing concern about the potential for antisocial behaviour, particularly among older teenagers, on Halloween. Cases of houses being "egg-bombed" (especially when the occupants do not give money or gifts) have been reported, and the BBC reported that for Halloween 2006 police forces stepped up patrols to respond to such mischief.

кошак а где United States!

Halloween did not become a holiday in the United States until the 19th century, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted the observance of many holidays. American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays.[18] The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration from the British Isles, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country.

Scottish-American and Irish-American societies held dinners and balls that celebrated their heritages, with perhaps a recitation of Robert Burns' poem "Halloween" or a telling of Irish legends, much as Columbus Day celebrations were more about Italian-American heritage than Columbus per se. Home parties would center around children's activities, such as bobbing for apples, and various divination games often concerning future romance. Not surprisingly, pranks and mischief were common as well.

The commercialization of Halloween in the United States did not start until the 20th century, beginning perhaps with Halloween postcards (featuring hundreds of designs) which were most popular between 1905 and 1915. Dennison Manufacturing Company, which published its first Hallowe'en catalog in 1909, and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialised in Halloween figurines that were exported to the United States in the period between the two world wars.

There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in the United States or elsewhere, prior to 1900. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating did not become a fixture of the holiday until the 1950s.

In the United States, Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday (after Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Easter, and Father's Day).[23] In the 1990s, many manufacturers began producing a larger variety of Halloween yard decorations; prior to this a majority of decorations were homemade. Some of the most popular yard decorations are jack-o'-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange and purple string lights, inflatable decorations (such as spiders, pumpkins, mummies and vampires), and animatronic window and door decorations. Other popular decorations are foam tombstones and gargoyles.

Halloween is now the United States' second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes are also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume themes for adults are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat and clown. Each year, popular costumes are dictated by various current events and pop culture icons.On many college campuses, Halloween is a major celebration, with the Friday and Saturday nearest October 31 hosting many costume parties.

The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of American adults planned to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating.

Anoka, Minnesota, the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World", celebrates the holiday with a large civic parade and several other city-wide events. Salem, Massachusetts, also has laid claim to the "Halloween Capital" title, while trying to dissociate itself from its history of persecuting witchcraft. At the same time, however, the city does see a great deal of tourism surrounding the Salem witch trials, especially around Halloween. In the 1990s, the city added an official "Haunted Happenings" celebration to the October tourist season.. Nearby Keene, New Hampshire, hosts the annual Pumpkin Fest each October which previously held the record for having the greatest number of lit jack-o'-lanterns at once. (Boston, Massachusetts holds the record as of October 2006). In Atlanta, Georgia, the Little Five Points neighborhood hosts the Little Five Points Halloween Parade on the weekend before October 31st each year.

Rutland, Vermont has hosted the annual Rutland Halloween Parade since 1960. Tom Fagan, a local comic book fan, is credited with having a hand in the parade's early development and superhero theme. In the early 1970s, the Rutland Halloween Parade achieved a degree of fame when it was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, including Batman #237, Justice League of America #103, Amazing Adventures #16 and The Mighty Thor #207.
Ubu Apocalypse, a presentation of over-sized papier-mâché masks at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City.
Ubu Apocalypse, a presentation of over-sized papier-mâché masks at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City.

New York City hosts the United States' largest Halloween celebration, known as The Village Halloween Parade. Started by Greenwich Village mask maker Ralph Lee in 1973, the evening parade now attracts over two million spectators and participants, as well as roughly four million television viewers annually. It is the largest participatory parade in the country if not the world, encouraging spectators to march in the parade as well.

Barbara Ehrenreich, in her book on collective joy mentions this as an example of how Halloween is transitioning from a children's holiday to a adult holiday and compares it to Mardi Gras.

In many towns and cities, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by lit porch lights and jack-o'-lanterns. In some large and/or crime ridden areas, however, trick-or-treating is discouraged, or refocused to staged trick-or-treating events within nearby shopping malls, in order to prevent potential acts of violence against trick-or-treaters. Even where crime is not an issue, many American towns have designated specific hours for trick-or-treating, e.g., 5-7 pm or 5-8 pm, to discourage late-night trick-or-treating.

Those living in the country may hold Halloween parties, often with bonfires, with the celebrants passing between them. The parties usually involve traditional games (like snipe hunting, bobbing for apples, or searching for candy in a similar manner to Easter egg hunting), haunted hayrides (often accompanied by scary stories, and costumed people hiding in the dark to jump out and scare the riders), and treats (usually a bag of candy and/or homemade treats). Scary movies may also be viewed. Normally, the children are picked up by their parents at predetermined times. However, it is not uncommon for such parties to include sleepovers.

Trick-or-treating may often end by early evening, but the nightlife thrives in many urban areas. Halloween costume parties provide an opportunity for adults to gather and socialize. Urban bars are frequented by people wearing Halloween masks and risqué costumes. Many bars and restaurants hold costume contests to attract customers to their establishments. Haunted houses are also popular in some areas.