New Year is a time for reflection, so let's pause for a moment and think of those less fortunate than ourselves, and look in particular at UNICEF's international campaigns for children. UNICEF is a world organisation acting to promote the interests of children and try to improve the world into which they have been born.
UNICEF operates in developed and developing countries across the world, and have different campaigns in each country. At an international level, they have five areas of focus:-
Let's spare a thought for those growing up in the same world that we grew up in, but in unimaginable circumstances. Let's support the work of UNICEF and other children's charities in the hope that one day, their ambitious but respectable goals might be reached. Find out more on UNICEF's international focus areas.
Like many festivals, Halloween has come together from a mix of origins, today it is widely regarded as a secular festival that exists for a bit of light hearted fun! The festival probably originated from the Celtic festival marking the end of summer and the arrival of the darker winter months. The association with spirits and ghosts arises because the Celts believed that the boundary between this world and the world of the dead became thinner at this time of year, allowing some spirits to escape back to the living world!
To combat the pagan festival, Pope Gregory III moved AllSaints Day from13th May to the 1st November, giving rise to the term Halloween - All Hallows Evening, the evening before All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day. All Souls Day is celebrated on 2nd November.
Whilst it is believed that the Celts carved turnips and other vegetables as part of their celebrations, pumpkin carving has different origins, arising in America prior to the arrival of Halloween. Pumpkins were carved in celebration of the harvest. 'Trick or Treating' also arose in America and in the 1950's, a UNICEF campaign grew out of a local initiative in Philadelphia, collecting money through trick or treating for children around the world. UNICEF's Trick or Treat campaign continues to this day, and has raised over $120m for UNICEF activities.
Today Halloween is a great source of inspiration for themed craft and activities for children, with it's associated colours of orange and black and symbolism of pumpkins, witches, ghouls and more. Don't scare your children with spooky tales, but seek inspiration and make fun decorations with your kids!
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