I guess there really is a first time for everything! After living in Tinnye for nearly 3 years, I am glad to say that I have made friends, found a community who cares and people who are up for something new and something different! Yes Tinnye, we have had our very first Halloween this autumn!
My husband Mark and I have been teaching English in Tinnye for nearly 3 years now, using some unconventional and unique methods. We like to follow children's interests and keep an open mind when it comes to teaching. We have had the pleasure to work with many children of all ages throughout the past few years, who have been learning through actual experiences and enjoying the language by simply having fun!
Well to say the least, Halloween is not a traditional and well known celebration in Hungary, however it has been a popular topic every autumn since we have begun working with children. Young people and kids are so much more in contact with the world these days (mainly through social media) and they get inspiration and influences from so many different cultures. So why not support their enthusiasm for trying new things here, at home?!
Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the 31st of October each year. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated the 1st of November as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o'-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.
Sometime in September we were talking about the history of Halloween with one of our English groups of 10-14 year olds and they said to me that it's a shame we can't go trick-or-treating in Hungary. So naturally my reply was ”Why not ? I will organise it and we will go!” That spark was the beginning of something that turned out rather special. What came later is history, our history, Tinnye's history!
After beginning to ask around, I've decided to post about this idea on the Facebook groups of Tinnye (I thought it was best to ask the residents if we can ring their bells with our horrific masks and costumes) and people have started messaging me telling me they would be glad to receive us and surprise the children with sweets and cakes.
I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of responses I've received from people as I was only hoping for a few messages from a few good people. Shorty after my initial post I've started getting messages from mums in Tinnye asking if they could join the program. The more the merrier – I thought to myself! As it turned out someone has already initiated doing trick-or-treating, but had no luck of getting it organised. Perhaps all it needed is a final push or a post on Facebook, who knows! But things started rolling and more and more parents joined the planning.
On Halloween night we had a great turnout, and with dozens of children and a fair amount of parents accompanying them we started walking the streets of Tinnye, dressed up as witches, werewolves, monsters and superheroes ringing the bells, scaring the living daylight out of our lovely neighbours and friends collecting all the lovely things they have prepared for us. The energy was great and the kids were so excited and happy, we have enjoyed ourselves immensely!
With not too much time to organise this we have managed to get so many – as my husband would call them ”Tinnyens” – involved that I believe next year it will only be bigger and better!
Cheers to a very first Halloween in Tinnye and to those who made it happen!
The Hungarian version of this article was published in Issue 19 (12/2020) of the newspaper Körtvélyes.