Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints).
Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (also known as “guising”), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian root as it is thought to have been influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows, Hallowmas or Hallowtide) on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2, which are a time for honouring the saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach Heaven.
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood however on Saturday condemned Halloween celebrations held in an Amman cafe as “Satanic” and homosexual, while a newspaper reported acts of vandalism at the party.
“We watched with disgust and shame last night [Friday] homosexual and Satanic rituals in an Amman cafe,” the Brotherhood said in a statement on its website.
“This presents a challenge to the values of the Jordanian people and their Arab and Muslim identity, as well as a violation of religious laws,” it added.
The group demanded that those who organised the party be tried for the “grotesque act”, decrying that such events are allowed to go ahead when the people are “stricken by poverty and amid political crises” in Jordan.
Al Ghad newspaper, meanwhile, reported that violence broke out when “angry youths tried to prevent the Halloween celebrations from taking place” in the cafe in Amman.
It said they tried to storm the cafe, throwing stones and setting fire to property, causing a traffic jam until early Saturday.
Although poverty levels are running at 25 per cent in the desert kingdom, several independent studies say its capital Amman is the most expensive city in the Arab world.