Ottobre è il mese delle zucche e dell’autunno ma è anche (e soprattutto) il mese della paura!
Streghe, vampiri, pipistrelli, zombie popolano le leggende di tutto il mondo, e Halloween è la festa che li racchiude tutti.
Halloween è una delle feste più amate in USA, UK e Canada e, anche se la sua nascita è da ricondurre più alla celebrazione della stagione invernale che ai mostri e ai vampiri, oggi è una delle ricorrenze più festeggiate in tutto il mondo. Dal Messico all’Inghilterra, dall’Italia al Giappone, negli ultimi anni la festa di Halloween è diventata una vera e propria moda. In realtà già agli inizi del 1700 in Europa era scoppiata la passione per il genere macabro e pauroso, e ancora oggi quella passione nutre la letteratura horror e una produzione cinematografica davvero florida.
E allora perché non proporre alle vostre studentesse e ai vostri studenti un viaggio (rigorosamente in lingua inglese!) per conoscere la simbologia di Halloween e le sue origini?
“Max and Laura spent the next few days thinking about the strange name on the file.
“Mum, did Matilda Anderson talk to you about ‘Project Vampire’?” asked Laura.
“Why do you want to know that?” she laughed.
“Max said he saw a file with Project Vampire on it. It seemed a strange name.” “
“Lord Canterville lived in a fine old English house called Canterville Chase. When Mr Hiram B. Otis saw it, he immediately decided to buy it. He was a rich and very important American with a large family and he wanted to live in England. Everyone told him that he was very foolish. ‘There is a ghost,’ they said. ‘Canterville Chase is haunted!’. “
“Halloween has Celtic origins. The Celts were European people who lived in northern Europe and Britain about six thousand years ago.
The Celtic calendar was divided in two parts: summer and winter. Summer was from May to the end of October, and winter was from November to the end of April. The ancient Celtic festivity called Samhain celebrated the beginning of winter. It started on the evening of October 31 and continued until the next day”.
“What about blood? Isn’t there a bat that eats blood? Well, among the more than 1,000 species of bats in the world, there are three that drink blood. They all live in the American tropics. They are a lot smaller than the flying foxes of Java, being only around 8 centimetres long. They are incredibly agile though, even when they are not flying. They can run on all four legs, or standing up on their back legs, and they jump very well too”.
“In the early 1700s Europe experienced a vampire mania. All the newspapers of the age talked about them. A respected Biblical scholar named Dom Augustin Calmet (1672-1757) published an enormous book on vampires in 1746, and even though he did not exactly say that they really existed, he did not exactly say that they didn’t exist either. The famous philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) referred to them ironically. The great French biologist Comte de Buffon (1707-88) called a South American bat a ‘vampire bat’ “.