This is the time for goblins and bats,
Weird-happenings and witches brew,
Halloween spirits, ghosts and cats…
Halloween has always been a holiday filled with superstition, magic and mystery. When European immigrants came to live & work in the USA in the 2nd half of the 19th century, they brought a variation of “Hallow’s eve” traditions with them. The beliefs & customs of different nationalities mixed with local celebrations of American Indians, and soon the American version of Halloween was born. Neighbors would celebrate the harvest, lit bonfires, share spooky stories about ghost and witchcrafts, have some drinks, dance & sing.
At the turn of the century, “Hallow’s eve” aka Halloween lost most of its superstitious overtone and the fearsome and malevolent ghost -stories were replaced by parades and town-wide parties. From 1920, the centuries-old Irish practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Americans began to dress up in festive costumes and go from house to house, asking for sweets or money. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Over the years, Halloween has become a significant part of American culture. Today, Halloween is the second-largest commercial holiday in the United States (next to Christmas) with Americans spending an estimated 8.2 billion annually on candy, gifts, decoration and costumes.
The Halloween tradition of dressing in costume has ancient Celtic roots. Many centuries ago, winter was a very uncertain and frightening time. The short and cold days of winter were full of constant worry. Many people were afraid that their food supplies would not be sufficient, were afraid of the dark and frightened by the evil spirits out there. To avoid that the ghosts would recognize them, the Celts started to wear masks when they left their houses so that the mean spirits would mistake them for fellow ghosts. On Halloween, they would also place bowls of food on their doorstep, to appease the ghosts and prevent them from trying to enter their homes.
Today, most trick-or-treaters and Halloween party people have forgotten about the original traditions and beliefs. Few people really know for example when or why the pumpkin carving practice began. With the “Happy Halloween” campaign, Coca-Cola focuses on the roots of “Hallow’s eve” and brings the story of Jack O’Lantern aka “Stingy Jack” back into the spotlight.
Jack O’Lantern illustration by Daniël Maas.
Stingy Jack grew up in a small Irish village were he quickly earned the reputation of being clever as well as lazy. Instead of working, he preferred to relax under his favorite tree, a solitary oak. In order to earn an “easy shilling” to spend in the local pubs, Jack gambled and played tricks on everyone: friends, family and even his mother.
One Halloween, the time came for Jack to die and the devil arrived to take his soul. According to the Irish myth, Jack invited the devil to have a last drink together. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for the drinks, so he convinced the devil to transform himself in a coin that Jack could use to pay for their drinks. The devil agreed, but Jack decided to keep this “devil coin” in his pocket next to a silver cross, preventing the devil to change back into his original shape. Jack would not let the devil free until he was promised another year of life.
The next Halloween, the devil appeared again to claim Jack’s soul, and again Jack bargained, this time challenging the devil to a game of dice, a game that he excelled at. The devil threw two ones and was about to win, but Jack used a pair of dice he had whittled himself. Jack threw two threes, forming the T-shape of a cross and once again he had the devil in his power and he bargained for more time.
The year rolled around to another Halloween. This time, Jack tricked the devil into climbing in an apple tree. Once the devil was up there, Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk, making it impossible for the devil to get down. After some time, the devil came with the deal that he would never take Jack’s soul, so Jack removed the crosses and let the devil go.
Years later, death took Jack by surprise. When jack arrived in front of the gates of heaven, St. Peter would not let such an evil character enter. The devil, still upset by all the tricks that Jack had played on him, kept indeed his word and didn’t allow Jack into hell. Jack was sent back into the cold & dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack placed the coal in a hollowed out turnip, a vegetable he always carried around whenever he could steal one. From that day on, Jack and his carved-out turnip lived as a pair of inseparatable twins, the vegetable lighting Jack’s way as he roamed the earth without a resting place.
The Irish started to refer to this scary personage as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern”. On Halloween, they carved scary faces into turnips, potatoes, rutabagas, gourds or large beets and placed them in front of their houses to scare away Stingy Jack and ward off other evil spirits. European immigrants brought the Stingy Jack tradition with them when they moved to the US. They quickly discovered that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, were bigger and easier to carve out. So they started to use pumpkins, making perfect Jack O’Lanterns.
DOWNLOAD THE COCA-COLA “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” WALLPAPERS HERE:
Halloween is coming. Carve some pumpkins, take the torches, cauldrons, masks & skeletons from the closet & dress up as Batman, a candy corn witch, devil grrrl, clone trooper or a black widow. And what is Halloween without a scary Halloween wallpaper on your desktop? You can download these free Coca-Cola Art “Happy Halloween” wallpapers by clicking on the link under the artwork. The Coke Art Halloween wallpapers are available in 600×800, 1024×768 and 1280×960 screen resolution sizes.
How to install? FireFox Users: Right-click your mouse on the Coca-Cola Art wallpaper and select “Set As Desktop Background”. Then click on the “Set Desktop Background” button. Internet Explorer Users: Right-click your mouse on the Coke Art wallpaper and select “Set As Background”. Mac Users: Drag and drop the Coca-Cola Art wallpaper onto your desktop. Do this by clicking your mouse on the Halloween wallpaper, hold down the button while you drag your mouse onto your desktop, then release the mouse button. Your desktop will have to be visible on your screen so you can drag your mouse onto it. And in the meantime, keep an eye out for these spooky pumpkins!
The Coca-Cola Halloween wallpapers (all artworks, illustrations, graphic designs, photo footage & images) are for personal use only.
“Coca-Cola” ®, “Coke” ®, the “Dynamic Ribbon Device” ® and the design of the “Coca-Cola Contour Bottle” ® are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company. © The Coca-Cola Company, 2008 – All rights reserved.