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Traditions During the Halloween Period

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 5495 words Published: 14th Dec 2017

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Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st. When people celebrate halloween they use some customes and hold the party, decorate their house, watch horror movies, visit haunted houses, bonfires, carving jack o’lantern, and also do trick or treat. Those are just some activities that usually happen in the halloween nowadays.

But just several countries that celebrate it as a holiday. In my country, Indonesia, they don’t celebrate it. I don’t know why my country don’t celebrate it as a holiday. I think the rational reason is because our country has its own perspectives about halloween. In my country there are many religions and most people choose Islam as their religion. This religion against eve to be our national holiday. Not just Islam but also some of the Christian. And this case is not only happen just in Indonesia, there are some other countries that against halloween. In the part of United Kingdom, police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the “trick” element.

The highest level of popularity about Halloween belong to North America and Canada. Every year, 65% of Americans decorate their homes, stores, and offices for Halloween. That percentage exceeded only by christmas. When Halloween happens the most candy is sold. And now Halloween is currently the 2nd largest commercial holiday.

These are some country that celebrated Halloween; Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czechoslavakia, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Latin America, Spain, and Sweden. That have different ways to celebrate Halloween.

In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before left on Halloween night. They have a reason for doing this, the reason is because it is once believed that such items will welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night.

The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives. The Belgian people do not open their doors to unknown persons including children and they do not welcome somebody who do “trick or threat” and ask for candies. Because only several people are welcomed to do the “trick or threat”, many children fight in the streets to steal candy from others during the halloween. In Canada and United States, they celebrate Halloween as usual but a little bit modern, for instance; Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities are including parties, trick-or-treat and decorating their homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.

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The Halloween festival in China known as Teng Chieh. They celebrate it by placing some food and water in front of photographs of family members who have died while lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples made “boats of the law” from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. This custom have two purpose: first, as a remembrance of the dead and the second, is in order to free the spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. “Pretas” are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. And in Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member’s spririt.

English people have another celebration which is similiar to Halloween. It is called the Guy Fawkes Day. The festival is held on November 5th and adopted many customs from Samhain. These festivities are marked by torchlight parades where children use masks made from beets and pumpkins. Scottish people practice their ancient pagan rites. Children wear costumes and cut scary faces into large rutabagas and place a candle inside them. They receive candies after they provide a nice entertainment to their neighbours.

In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits. And The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts). They believe that in this time, the spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some other people burn pictures of fruit and money at the same time, believing that those pictures would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to their friends and family who have died.

Irish children enjoy Halloween festivities by carrying lanterns cut into large rutabagas. They do “trick or threat” and receive sweet candies from their neighbours and Irish houses decorated with Halloween lights. Spanish people enjoy each kind of holidays and parties.

Halloween in spain called as “El Dia de los Muertos”. But not just in spain but also among Spanish-speaking nations. “El Dia De los Muertos”’s purpose is to remember friends and families who have died. They believed that their friends and their families who have died will return to their home on Halloween. Because of this many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candies, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. Candles with incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members including snipping the weeds. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. On November 2nd, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration.

In Japan, The Japanese have a similiar festival like Halloween. It is called “Obon Festival” (also known as “Matsuri” or “Urabon”). This festival is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. This Festival is held during July or August. The Japanese prepared special foods and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the “Obon Festival,” a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. “Obon” is one of the main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birth place. Memorial stones are cleaned and dances performed by the community. Korea also have a similiar festival to Halloween called as “Chusok.” This Festival take place on August. During this period of time the families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor, by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits.

In Sweden, Halloween is known as “Alla Helgons Dag” and is celebrated from October 31st until November 6th. In this celebration the time of work is shorten. This also applied for universities, while for schools, they are given a day of vacation. Those activities are being shorten because people need time to prepare the eve and also to respect their ancestors, families and friends who have died.

Many countries in this world celebrated Halloween. How they celebrate it and what are the names of the festival itself is depend on the country in which the Halloween is held. The dates are also different for each country. Despite the differences from each of every country, the purpose of the event itself stays the same, to respect the ancestors, families, relatives and friends that have died.

History Of Halloween

Halloween Bonfire

Long time ago Halloween celebrated at the end of the harvest season in Celts culture. Celts is an ethnic of old irish who lived in Great Britain, Northern France and some other part in Europe. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their most respected god. Because sun made the earth beautiful and the crops grow.

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter, thecookingfires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would met in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would lighted new fires and offered sacrifices of crops and animals.

As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would began. When the morning arrived, the Druids would gave an ember from their fires to each family who would then took them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would kept the homes warm and freed from evil spirits. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st.

The November 1st festival was called Samhain. Samhainor “Samhuinn” is pronounced “sow-” as in female pig “-en” with the neutral vowel sound not “Sam Hain”, because “mh” in the middle of an Irish word is a “w” sound. But now, we know it as Halloween. This day mark the end of summer, the harvest, the beginning of the dark, cold winter and a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.

The festival would last for 3 days, from October 31st until November 2nd. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening from the sacred bonfire to helped protecting them during the coming winter.

During the first century, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory, Britain. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona which called as Pomona Day, named for their goddess of fruits and gardens. The Pomona was invariably portrayed as a beautiful maiden whose arms were filled with fruit and who wore a crown of apples upon her head.

The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween. It was also celebrated around the 1st of November. After hundreds of years of Roman rule, the customs of the Celtic’s Samhain festival and the Roman Pomona Day mixed becoming one major fall holiday.

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. The day was called All Saint’s Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd aholyday.

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. 31st, 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.

The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences, Feralia and Pomona Day’s, the Festival of Samhain’s, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.
Symbolic Of Halloween

Halloween Costumes

When the time comes, certain things of Halloween’s decoration will be used, so that the house will looks like a haunted house. Symbols related with Halloween such as pumpkin, apple, black cat, skeleton, bat, owl, witch, etc. are also commonly use for the decoration. Those symbols came from a myriad of origins and traditions. And every symbols have different meaning.

The most common symbol of Halloween is pumpkins. However, the original celts carved the frightening faces into gourds or turnips, not in the pumpkins. They put a candle inside the gourds or turnips to light the way for a bite to rousting neighbors door-to-door for a donation to their cause. Along with the irish mass migration to the United States the turnips then replaced by potato famine. However, due to the scarcity of this potato, they changed it into a more accommodating fruit, pumpkins. They used pumpkins because the color of pumpkins is orange which also the color of Fire. As a Fire color, orange can helps to create change and brings about action. And the candles inside the pumpkins, represent the power of illumination, bringing light to the darkness which is in our soul and mind.

Apples also became one of the symbols in Halloween Eve. Apples have been long associated with female deities with immortality, resurrection and knowledge. One reason being that if an apple is cut through its equator, it reveales a five-pointed star outlined at the center of each hemisphere, also known as a pentagram. Apples being one of the symbols in Halloween since the Roman invaded Britian, They hold honored Pomona or Pomona Day. Pomona was the Roman Goddess who presided over fruits and gardens. The Pomona that decribed as a beautiful maiden whose arms were filled with fruit and who wore a crown of apples upon her head. It is generally accepted that its from Pomona that the association of apples became aligned with Halloween.

Bat is the one of scary symbol in Halloween Eve, they eat mosquitoes and have sharp incisor teeth to suck blood from its victim. This mammals were thought to indicate the presence of spirits or ghosts. Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition . There are some superstition related with a bat, the superstition is if a bat flew around a house three times on Halloween, death would be coming soon, but its just superstition. However in china red bats are symbols of long life, and amulets are worn as lucky charms to bring happiness. And Five red bats can also represent the “five good fortunes” of health, longevity, love, wealth and virtue.

Black cats is the others of scary symbol in Halloween. Their so many reason why that animal being the symbols of Halloween. In this symbol the cat is black and black is a common color of mystery and the unknown. Black also considered to be an absorbing element- taking on off- kilter energies and transforming them into purer frequencies. Black cat described as Mysterious, precocious, sleuthy, and also able to see and stalk the darkest nights without aid of light. Because of that the cat has long been considered to be closely linked with otherworldly concepts.

Indeed, many practitioners of energetic communication welcomed the company of felines as it was understood these creatures could serve as a facilitator to opening otherworld doors. Black cat have some superstition,and the superstition is if a black cat crosses your path its mean you have bad luck right now. Ironically if black cat walking towards you is considered lucky, while one walking away is said to be stealing your luck.

The skeleton is a symbolic of Halloween that reminder of the remnants of life. And its also symbols of the death, disease and the shortness of earthly life. The part of skeleton is skull, bones, crossbones. The Skull represent the receptacle used in the process of transformation in alchemy, and it was powerful symbols invoking a heightened awarenees of our psychis potential. Bones considered with death, if we are death we just left the bones of our body. and the crossbones represent poision and danger to pirate.

Owls have long been symbols of wisdom of an esoteric nature. Although the owl is a symbol of wisdom, it is feared by some cultures. Owls are related with night, sorcery, silence,death and the ability to seen the ghosts. Because owl hides in the darkness and fears the light it has often come to the symolize the “Prince of Darkness”. Usually owl are often associated with witches. At one time it was believed that the owls would swoop down on Halloween night and eat the soul of the dying.

The Christians seen Gravestones are as a memorial to the people who already died, but others see it as the place where the world of the living meets the worlds of departed spirits. A long Times ago Gravestones actually is heavy rocks and boulders that were placed on graves, because they worried if the ghost rised from their grave, they used heavy rocks and boulders to keep the dead people rising from their grave.

Blood also related with Halloween, because the Celts Culture as the origin this eve, believed that gods that controlled the forces of nature craved blood sacrifices human or animal.

Just like Aztex culture when they priest lifting the heart he just cut from the chest of a living sacrifice. It could as well have been a Mayan priest or any other devotee of the cruel forces from the world of the occult.

Another symbol that related with Halloween is Fire. Why fire become one of the symbol, it because one of the celts culture. During samhain the Druids used it for protection against bad spirits and they also doing ritual sacrifices to their gods. For the sacrifices they used animal or human. Fire also was symbolized warmth and protection as well as death and destruction to cultures around the world.

Spider and Web has symbolized the weaving of life and the cyclical ways of nature. But in the Halloween, it point to dark, scary places, haunted by ghost and hidden from light and dust mops. Spiders are creatures considered to be endowed with supernatural qualities which make them harbingers of mystic energy. They so mystical because of their ability to weave webs, which has long been symbolic of time, fate progress and the representation of human journey (on both physical and philosophical levels). They also have eight legs, and the number eight is symbolic of cycles which would make the spider’s presence during this time of year (symbolic of the transition between summer to winter) quite fitting.

A universal symbol for departed spirits and occult visitations are Ghosts. These cookies, like the ghost-shaped sweets served at Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, tend to minimize the reality of spiritual warfare in post-Christian America. The decorative ghosts may be cute, but to the countless victims of demonic bondage and oppression, the spirit world is no joke.

Witches have the power to preform rituals, evoke magic and concoct formulas and spells to connect with the spirit world and manipulate its forces. They called as mistress of the occult. Witches are gifted at energetic interpretations; and in ancient times their talents, perspectives and expertise would be called upon during this time of year for help in understanding messages from the non-physical side of life as well as forecasts for seasons ahead (long before the Farmer’s Almanac, there were soothsayers :-). And so, witches as a Halloween symbol are understandably vital to the occasion.

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From the Legends told, witches would gather twice a year when the seasons changed, before the end of April on the eve of May Day and on the eve of October 31st on the eve of Halloween. They would gather on that time because when the seasons changed It’s a time to the Veil between mundane and magical are be quite thin and energies tend to take on more revealing forms.

They came with their broomsticks, to celebrate with the devil. One of the superstitions told of witches casting spells on unsuspecting people, transforming themselves into different forms and causing other magical mischief. One of the superstitions also said that the only way to meet a witch, you had to put your clothes on the wrong side out and walk backwards at midnight, on Halloween night.

Halloween Traditions

When Halloween began there are some activities and common traditions that will be done at night. These activities already exists from long time ago, adapted from celts culture, and from other country that influenced with Halloween. Lets see the activities and common tradition when Halloween happen;

v Bonfires

On the night of Halloween, Celts would bring wood and start bonfires or fire festival on the hilltop. They would throw the bones of slaughtered cattle into flames, and young people would go from house to house asking for food offerings and kindling for the Samhain fires. The people would extinguish their heart fires and gather together to create large fires on sacred hilltops to honor and to give offerings to their gods. They used crops and the bones of animal as offerings to the gods which had been culled and then burnt in the fires.

But that’s not all, they also used personal and symbolic items for relief from sickness or bad fortune. They belived that Bonfires and sacrifices guaranteed the sun would shine brightly after a long, dreary winter. On that time it is only called as fire fest, but now in modern world, it become bonfire which comes from words bone and fire, meaning “fire of bones”.

Long time ago Bonfires have superstition. The superstition of holding bonfires is to encourage dreams of who your future husband or wife going to be. When bonfires happen the person who want to see the future husband or wife, should drop a cutting of his hair into the burning embers and then, that person will dream about the future of his/her beloved one.

v Halloween Costumes

One of many traditions in Halloween is to wear costumes. This tradition is very common especially for children. On the night of Halloween, children would dress up in scary costumes and go to their neighbour, ‘Help the Halloween Party’ or doing ‘Trick or Treat’. This tradition also related with celts, long time ago when celts held huge bonfires in hilltop, they dressing up in elaborate animal skins and heads to disguise themselves as spirit and devils so that the real ones couldn’t distinguish them as being human. By distinguisting themselves, they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. That ceremonies also consisted of dancing, telling stories, and reading fortunes.

However popular histories of Halloween tell us the practice goes back to celts ancient, but in fact there is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on halloween before the twentieth century.

Halloween costumes became popular for Halloween parties in America in the early 1900s, for both adults and children. Halloween Costumes are often designed to imitate supernatural and scary beings. The costumes are traditionally those of the symbol of Halloween such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, devils, and other. But now there are also customes of pop culture figures like presidents, from movie, televison, and also cartoon characters.

§ Costumes for Children

Children is the best object to try ware custome in halloween, they will look cute in many custome that related in halloween fest, but nowdays they will be used cartoon characters or movie and the others. Below here you can see the many customes that used by children when halloween;

§ Costumes for Adult

F:woman customes.jpgAnother popular trend for Halloween is for women and in some cases also for men, they use halloween costumes as an excuse to wear particularly revealing costumes, showing off more skin that would be socially acceptable otherwise. Below here you can see the many customes that used by women and men when halloween;

v Carving Jack-O-Lanterns

Halloween: Pumpkins on stepsThe traditions of carving jack-o-lanterns originated from the Celts. Jack-O-Lantern means “Jack of the Lantern”. This name is based on the Irish legend that tells a man named Jack who could not enter heaven or hell. Jack could not enter heaven or hell because of his own fault.

According to the story, jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. But jack didn’t have money to pay the drink, so he made the devil to changed himself into a coin so that jack could use the coin to buy drinks. And the devil did it, after the devil changed into a golden coin, jack paid his drink. Jack then decided to kept the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing back to his original form. After that, Jack freed the devil, but in one condition, the devil must promised to him, that he would not bother him for one year and if jack died, the devil would not claim his soul and then he can entered the heaven.

After one year, the devil came up and jack tricked the devil again to climbed a tree to pick a fruit. While the devil was climbing the tree, jack carved a sign of cross on the tree so the devil could not came down. Jack promised to the devil, he could erased that sign under one condition, that the devil would not bother him for ten more years.

When Jack died, God would not allow such an unsavory figure like jack into heaven, and when jack tricked the devil he said that if he died, the devil would not claim his soul. And devil did his promise to jack and kept his words, not to claim his soul which means not to allowed Jack went into hell. Because of these situations, Jack could not enter heaven nor hell. So he was sent into the dark night.

When he walked, he found a coal and put that coal into a carved-out turnip to lighted his way. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, to put it more simply, “Jack O’Lantern.” To keep him away, local villagers would carve scary faces into turnips and place them in their windows. Thus, the flickering flames from the Jack-O-Lantern eventually became associated with the spirits of the dead.

v Trick or Treat

The custom of trick or treating evolved in Ireland, centuries ago. In preparation for All Hollow’s Eve, the the poor people would go door to door upon the rich folks and receiving money, gifts or food in return for prayers for the dead on all souls day. The food was gathered for a huge feast and celebration. But now Trick-or-treatingis acustom traditionforchildrenonHalloween. Children will come wear scary costumefromhouseto house, and asking for treats such ascandy, or sometimesmoney, with the question, “Trick or treat?”. The “trick” is an idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property, such as eggs and flour being thrown at householders’ windows if no treat is given.

In the North America, trick or treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween and it has become common socially expected that if somebody lives in a neighborhood with children, they should gave treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters. Trick-or-Treats already existed in Britian and Ireland, where children and poor people would sing and say prayers for the dead in return for cake. This tradition is done in theUnited States,United Kingdom,Canada,Ireland,Puerto Rico, and centralMexico.

In Mexico trick-or-treating called as calaverita, it’s a spanish language that meaning is “little skul”. Then the children will ask their neighbor “me da mi calaverita?”, in english means “can you give me my little skull?”. In the last twenty years, this tradition has spread to other countries, such asItaly,AustraliaandNew Zealand, possibly because of U.S. American TV shows and movies in those countries.

v A Party Of Departed Spirits

The idea is to ask your friends or relatives to come as the ghost of some famous deceased character. Each of them must bring a pumpkin lantern as their ticket of admission. When all guests are assembled, announce that the first game will be guessing the ghosts. Number each person, then furnish pen and paper for the contest. Award a prize to the one who guesses the most correctly.

v Sailing Walnut Boat

Boats are made from the empty walnut shells. In each is fastened a short piece of brightly-colored candle, along with the name of someone at the party. Light the candle and set it afloat with others in a tub. The boat bearing the candle first extinguished on its own will denote a bachelor or an old maid.

v Ghosting, a.k.a. Boo-ing

Ghosting is fast becoming a popular Halloween tradition in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and other countries as well. Depending on your location, the new custom may be known as “Ghosting,” or “Boo-ing” but the concept is the same.

Ghosting is a fun way to spread the Halloween spirit among friends and neighbors. This activity can begin any time in October but the first or second week of the month is the best, allowing sufficient time for the entire neighborhood to be “ghosted.”

v Halloween Games

§ Apple Bobbing, Ducking For Apples or Snap Apple

Apple bobbing also known as bobbing for apples, and its have different name in some county depend where do you celebrate Halloween. In Scotland Apple bobbing called as “Ducking For Apples”, and in Ireland, they called “Snap Apple”. It is a game customarily played on Hallooween. The game will be played if the tub or a large basin fill with water and apples. They chose apples as the material because apples are less dense than water, they will float at the surface. The players try to catch one apples inside the tub without use of hands to secure an apple in their mouth.

Ducking For Apples in scotland, they play the same game with apple bobbing but before they throw the apple onto a basin they place a dime in one apple, a ring in another and a button in the third. These denote fortune, marriage and single blessedness. And Mix these apples in a large tub with as many others as will fit.

After that the rule and the next step of the game is the same with the apple bobbing, the difference is that after they catch the apple., the player must then pare their apples, trying not to break the paring strip. The apple paring is thrown over the left shoulder and is then said to form the first initial of the parer’s life mate.

bobbingIn Ireland, Snap Apples usually do not use tub or large basin, they only use apples. The apples will be suspended from a string and the players are blindfolded. The First players to get decent bite of the apple gets to keep the prize or reward. But sometimes they also played as the same game by placing apples in a basin of water and trying to get an apple with their mouth without using hands.

This traditions came from the Roman goddess Pomona who presided over fruits and gardens. The Pomona that decribed as a beautiful maiden whose arms were filled with fruit and who wore a crown of apples upon her head. And this game is an important part of the celtic when families would gather for a communal feast at samhain fest. The people belived where whoever bites the apple first in the group will be the first to marry, and girls who place the apple they bobbed under their pillows are said to dream of their future lover.

§ Candle Blowing

Candle is related with Blowing. Candle is one of the very famous Halloween fortune game on Halloween. Light of the candle can set the mood for a mystical future predicting exercise, which can involve a lot of people, depend on the candles you have. For this game we can use colored candles. To make this game more exiting, you can call a lot of people to participate in this game. And you can get to know predictions on people’s personal life through this candle game.

Blindfold the players and then let them blow out a candle, the number of puffs required to extinguish the flame governing the number of years before the player’s marriage. If you want to play this game, just prepare a silk cloth blindfold, a table, a matchbox and three candles. For the candles you can chose different color because every color have different meaning, but you should pick the candle pink, green, and orange colors.

After you already prepared it all, light three cand


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