Siam Computer & Language School, a higher learning institution in Information Technology and English Language Instruction, was founded under the leadership of Dr. Prasert Prawatrungruang in 1979. Subsequently, SIAM  has been officially authorized by the Thai Ministry of Education to operate as a private teaching institution with branches throughout the greater Bangkok metropolitan area   More...

 

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Every year on October 31st in the United States and Canada, parade of ghouls, witches, and vampires would marched down the street, knocking on people’s doors and asking for teeth-rotting goodies. Only on this night are monsters permitted to run wild while people rejoice in being scared. Originally Halloween was called All Hallows’ Eve and its origin can be traced back several thousand years ago as part of the ancient Celtic festival. Halloween is the day before All Saints’ Day which falls on November 1st. All Saints’ Day is a Christian celebration to commemorate individuals who have been recognized for their holiness, devotion,  and virtue (the saints). The evening before All Saints’ Day (which is Halloween) was believed to be the time for the souls of the dead (saints and non-saints) to make a final visit to their homes before departing to Heaven. It is also an opportunity for some of the spirits to take revenge on their enemies before crossing over. It is this night that the world of the living and the realm of the dead become almost parallel, making it possible for the spirits of the deceased to roam into our living world. On this night, people would wear scary masks to ward off spirits from entering their houses. By disguising themselves, people could blend in with the spirits and won’t be spotted by them. This is the reason why the scary masks and supernatural themes are associated with Halloween. In the olden days on Halloween, the poor folks would go door to door begging for a piece of cake (also known as “soul cake”). In return for the food, the poor would offer prayer for the dead members of the donors’ families. The custom of trick-or-treating where children go door to door asking for candies on a Halloween night is derived from this ancient practice.

 

Halloween celebration is most popular in the U.S. and in Canada where streets, houses, offices, and shopping malls are decorated with all sorts of creepy creatures, eerie neon lights, spider webs, and glowing Jack-o-lanterns.  Aside from meeting friends and collecting candies, the fun part about Halloween is the opportunity to be someone (or something) else for the day. People will have fun coming up with the wackiest ideas for costumes and house’s decoration.  Unlike most occasions where you have to look good to impress, Halloween favors the opposite. The uglier or scarier you can be, the cooler you are. Costumes and masks conceal the wearer’s identity allowing the person to be confident and act silly without having to care what anyone else may think.

 

 

 

 

 

Jack-o-Lantern

Derived from an Irish folk take, Stingy Jack was a despicable drunk who enjoyed playing tricks on people and even on the Devil himself. On one occasion when the Devil came to take Jack’s soul to hell, Jack begged the Devil for an apple as his final death wish. Jack tricked the Devil to climb an apple tree to which he then placed crucifixes around the tree trunk. The Devil was stuck and couldn’t climb back down. Jack made the Devil promise never to take his soul or else he won’t remove the crucifixes. Being in that predicament, The Devil had to agree. Many years later, Jack had died due to his reckless and malevolent lifestyle. Because of his sins, Heaven forbade him to enter. The Devil also couldn’t take his soul because of the promise he made to Jack earlier in life. The Devil tossed a piece of glowing ember for Jack to light his way around which also served as a warning for other people to see. Jack ended in limbo—wandering between heaven and hell, carrying a piece of glowing ember which he placed inside a turnip to light his way around. It is said that on Halloween Night, people can see Jack with his lantern. The turnip was later replaced with a pumpkin (because it was easier to carve) and Jack-O-Lantern became the symbol of Halloween ever since.

 

Apples

Apples have a long history in Greek myths and the Garden of Eden. Apples are often referred to as the “forbidden fruit” being associated with temptation and the biblical fall from grace. In modern culture, apple has become a symbol for knowledge. On Halloween, there is a game of “bobbing for apples” where players try to bite into an apple floating in a bucket of water. It is believed that if an unmarried woman peels an apple in front of a mirror on a Halloween night, she would see a reflection of her future husband. Another version of the legend said to put the apple under pillow before retiring that night.

 

Witches

The evil long nose hag with a crackling laugh riding a broom probably has its origin from “the crone”, a pagan goddess. She is often associated with wisdom, potion, and magic. In some version she is depicted as a kind elderly mother goddess. Because of the witch’s secretive and mystical traits, she has become an object of suspicion and fear. In the popular Halloween version, she is transformed into a sinister, crafty old woman skilled in bringing curses and destruction to those around her. The witch is usually accompanied by a black cat.

 

Black cats, spiders, and bats

Being creepy and crawly as they are, spiders are feared by many as a repulsive and venomous critter. Spiders are looked upon as creatures that like to inhabit moldy, dark, old places—like a haunted house for instance. Spiders are used in Halloween setting as a little extra something to give you goose bumps. Apart from hairy dangling spiders, a black cat is another animal that is often seen as a Halloween mascot. For centuries, black cats are  viewed as bringer of bad luck. In some legends, black cats are familiars of witches, that is, they possess supernatural powers to aid the witch in performing black magic. Bats are also regarded as a witch’s familiar. It is believed that if a bat is spotted flying into your house on a Halloween night, it means that your house is haunted. Bats are also depicted as the alternate form of blood-sucking vampires.

 

Candies and treats

In the old days on Halloween, the poor folks would go door to door begging for a piece of cake (also known as “soul cake”). In return for the food, the poor would offer prayer for the dead members of the donors’ families. The custom of trick-or-treating where children go door to door asking for candies on a Halloween night is derived from this ancient practice. Traditional Halloween candies include: candy corn, caramel apple, black licorice, jelly beans, and chocolates.

 

 Scary Masks

Halloween is believed to be a day when the dead souls would make a final visit to their homes before departing to Heaven (or Hell). It is said that spiritual and other paranormal activities are at their peak on Halloween. The world of the spirits and the living become almost parallel making it possible for the spirits to walk among the living. People would wear scary masks to blend in with the spirits. Others would use the mask to keep the spirits away from their homes. Traditional Halloween costume designs are usually based on supernatural characters such as witches, demons and goblins. Contemporary costumes have become less scary and sometimes they have become controversial. Nurses, ballerinas, political leaders, and celebrities are just some of the few examples.

 

 

 

 

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